State Superintendent Ryan Walters, Oklahoma Board Of Education Pleased With Progress Of Tulsa Public Schools

State Superintendent Ryan Walters said he has been pleased with the progress the district has made under Johnson's leadership during Thursday's meeting.

Thursday, May 23rd 2024, 5:13 pm



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It's been a long school year for Tulsa Public Schools, not just for the students, but for leaders as well.

In August, the district's superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist announced she would resign from her role, just days before the state department of education was set to rule on the district's accreditation.

The board voted to change TPS's status to accredited with deficiencies and required district leaders to update the state at each monthly board meeting.

In December, Dr. Ebony Johnson was appointed as the new superintendent.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters said he has been pleased with the progress the district has made under Johnson's leadership during Thursday's meeting.

Last year, Walters ordered the district to improve test scores and reading skills for kids, and 8 months later, both parties couldn’t be happier with the changes so far.

Dr. Ebony Johnson has been the leader, spearheading all of the changes since she took over in the middle of the school year.

She says the district has incredible data already to prove how hard it’s been working to help TPS kids succeed.

Dr. Johnson presented some of the district’s updates and explained how leaders are meeting goals set by the state.

Students completed new testing and are awaiting results.

She also said more than 2,200 TPS employees have completed additional reading training to better help students in elementary and secondary classrooms, and she also created a team she said has reduced district deficiencies from nearly 100 to only 3. 

All of that is just the start of many positive changes, and the state school board had nothing but praise on Thursday.

"This is her long-term goal and success for Tulsa students, I’ve heard that commitment from Dr Johnson from day one," Walters said. "I’ve heard that commitment from the board from day one. They want to see an improvement for all the kids in Tulsa, and we want to make sure they are supported."

“There is so much work still to be done in the summer and in fall, but I'm very proud of the team for wrapping around TPS and figuring out as an entire community what we need to do to move the needle," said Dr. Johnson. "Our students deserve it.”

Walters also announced the state board is giving TPS $400,000 for its summer school programs. 

The district is enrolling more than 7,200 kids in a 20-day-long program to help them with extra instruction and fun activities.

It’s also offering small group training for those falling behind, and it’s offering a program for students who need extra credits to graduate. 

Those programs are still open and information is on the TPS website. 

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