The Dropout Report: Making progress

Many efforts are in the works to improve Tulsa’s schools and graduation rates. The following initiatives are examples that show the district may be on the right track.



High school magnet programs

Thanks to a $12 million grant, Tulsa’s magnet programs are matching students’ instruction with their interests in culinary and fine arts, aerospace and aeronautics, journalism and engineering.

The magnet programs at Central, Nathan Hale, Daniel Webster and McLain high schools are designed to help students see the relevance of what they’re learning by incorporating theme-based projects throughout the curriculum, says Donna Carter, arts management strand coordinator at Central, TPS’ fine arts magnet.

In English class, for example, Central students learn about language and the rhythm of poetry through African drumming. In geology, students create stained glass as a tool for learning about the properties of glass.

Central students also are encouraged to participate in artistic opportunities and a series of hands-on experiences, including internships and job shadowing.

With the latest technology, all four magnet programs also partner with community businesses within their industry focus. Broadcasting and digital media magnet Webster has connected with the Tulsa County News to allow students to write and submit articles to the westside newspaper. The magnet’s journalism-based, product-driven courses teach students problem-solving skills and provide collaborative experiences that will aid them in college or the workforce, says Phil Garland, former Webster principal and current lead principal at TPS’ new continuation school.

While TPS’ magnet programs are motivating students to finish high school, they also are providing them with the skills to identify and meet their post-high school goals, says Kevin Burr, executive director for high school reform.

“We want to use that curriculum interest to help keep them walking through the door,” he says. “We’re using kids’ interest areas to give them a set of skills to become whatever they want.”

Middle school initiatives

TPS also is helping students set their sights on success at the middle school level, a crucial time for youth, who can become subject to the cliques, bullying and gossip that often come with the pre-teen years.

John Maxwell, Cleveland Middle School principal, says many middle school students get involved with gangs and criminal activity as early as the sixth grade, which can lead to dropping out later. According to research conducted by the Tulsa World, Cleveland had the second-highest dropout rate, 3.4 percent, of any TPS middle school for the 2006-2007 school year.

Maxwell notes that students who have a caring principal and school staff stand a better chance at staying in school. Like other TPS middle schools, Cleveland offers special counseling support for “troubled” students as well as drug prevention and tutoring programs. The school also hosts guest speakers who share possible career opportunities with students.

“The more we can expose them to college and what’s beyond high school, the better,” says Maxwell, who adds that Cleveland counselors help students identify possible academic or career interests in sixth grade.

With several high school magnet programs off the ground and more to come, Burr hopes this early career path information can be even better utilized to keep students academically motivated via their interests.

“If we can use that inherent interest that already exists, we should be able to suggest that kids go to a high school that matches that interest,” he says.

Community schools

The Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiative (TASCI) identifies schools’ needs and partners them with local services in seven core areas. This privately funded resource center oversees Tulsa’s 18 recognized community schools, all elementary schools, and helps address the basic physical, mental and emotional needs of young people and their families.

Through a senior nutrition program, TASCI and its local partners have connected senior citizens with students at several community schools, where the seniors receive meals and become student mentors. Another TASCI program, the Summer SOAR Enrichment Program, provides educational trips, recreational activities and free meals each summer for 60 children at McKinley Elementary School.

TASCI hopes to help Tulsa’s schools become the vehicles, or “hubs,” that align communities and impact the success of youth, TASCI Senior Planner Jan Creveling says.

She points out that long-standing community schools in Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities have helped improve dropout rates by meeting the basic needs of at-risk youth and connecting them with caring adults for stability and encouragement. The goal of TASCI is to do the same in Tulsa.

“We know that kids who are healthy are more capable of learning,” Creveling says. “We work to ensure that nonacademic barriers are removed so schools can do what they do best.”

Alternative education programs

Working from the recommendations of the Alternative Schools Innovations Task Force, the Tulsa school board voted in June to make several changes and additions to TPS’ alternative education programs. At press time, the task force planned to implement the following changes for the 2009-2010 academic year:

  • Project 12 and Franklin Youth Academy will be renamed and reinvented under the umbrella of Big Picture Learning, an international network of schools that boasts impressive graduation statistics. The concept focuses on getting to know students and their interests and then connecting them with relevant learning experiences. Nearly all students attending Big Picture Learning schools graduate high school, attend college and complete a four-year degree program on time, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Marvin Jeter says.

  • “Our concern was that even though our programs were successful, these proven success rates were even better,” he explains. “As long as one kid is falling through the crack, that’s one too many.”

  • The redesign also will absorb New Vision Academy, which previously served students abusing drugs or alcohol. Now each of TPS’ alternative schools will encompass substance use and social issues, while also focusing on “educating the whole child” and teaching around students’ interests, Jeter explains.

  • Tulsa Academic Center will be renamed the Tulsa Resource and Adolescent Intervention Centers of Excellence (TRAICE) Academy.  Students will be grouped based on the severity of their behavioral problems, and staff will receive extensive training on how to help students overcome these issues.

  • TRAICE satellite programs will replace in-school suspension programs at every middle and high school. Students in jail or on probation will attend a new “continuation school” through a partnership with juvenile justice authorities.

  • The Project ACCEPT program, which encourages collaboration across educational disciplines, will be expanded beyond its current location at Anderson Elementary School.

  • The Middle College High School will be created in partnership with Tulsa Community College to allow students to earn their high school diploma and college associate’s degrees simultaneously. This program also will work in conjunction with a “virtual high school” — a means of earning class credits online — which will serve 500 students in middle school, high school and post-secondary education the first year.

Tulsa Learning Academy

Tulsa Learning Academy (TLA) helps at-risk students complete courses they need for graduation online and at their own pace. The program has an unlikely but teen-friendly setting: Promenade Mall.

Many students enter TLA because of eating disorders, family tragedies or financial troubles, Principal Jean Keeton says.

“These kids are smart and very talented, but life crises have happened to them and they had no place to go for support,” she says.

With instructors on hand, TLA also offers counseling and workshops to students and provides them with job shadowing and field trips to introduce post-graduation possibilities.

“We look at the whole student, not just the academic part,” Keeton says. “We accept them, meet with them, work with them and figure out how to support them to help them be successful.”

TLA offers daytime and evening classes and last year accommodated about 23 students per session. However, Jeter says the Tulsa school board plans to expand the program to help twice as many students and allow many to gain high school credits from their home computers.

explains. One former student attended TLA to recapture credits lost when his family’s home and cars were repossessed.

Tulsa Center for Adolescent Treatment

Open since 2002, the Tulsa Center for Adolescent Treatment at Parkside Psychiatric Hospital temporarily houses teens suffering from mental illness, provides them with treatment and counseling, and manages any necessary medications.

Through TPS, the program also pairs patients with an on-site, certified teacher, who obtains their school records and prepares individualized assignments to ensure they stay on track academically.

“We often find that a child hasn’t been in school for a few years and that they’re way behind,” Clinic Director Kathryn Bishop says. “If they’re in need of medication and don’t have it, it can be really difficult for a child to concentrate. If they’re depressed, they’ll have difficulty caring one way or another about school.”

During patients’ clinic stay, which averages one month, speakers from local colleges also visit to discuss career options. Once students’ treatment is over, the center refers them for outpatient treatment and ensures they are enrolled in an alternative or traditional school program.

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August 2019

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Telephone: (405) 236-3100
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Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Telephone: 918-585-1234
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Senior Star Round-Up - August 18 - Cain's Ballroom - 2 to 5 p.m. The annual Senior Star Round-Up is Sunday, August 18, at the Cain's Ballroom, 423 N. Main Street in Tulsa. This popular...

Cost: $10

Where:
Cain's Ballroom
423 N. Main St.
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: Senior Star Living
Telephone: (918) 664-9000
Contact Name: Emily Fox

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BROKEN ARROW COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE Presents “The Wizard of Oz” (R.S.C.1987) By L. Frank Baum With Music and Lyrics by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg Background Music by...

Cost: $22-$25

Where:
Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
1800 S Main St
Broken Arrow, OK  Broken Arrow
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Sponsor: Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
Telephone: 918-258-0077
Contact Name: 74012
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Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

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You're invited to our new store Grand Opening Celebration in Broken Arrow, August 21st for an all day event! As you know, this year marks our 30 year anniversary of serving business minded...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stow's Office Furniture
3604 S Elm Place
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
View map »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

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Sign up now for the Tulsa Area United Way's 9th Annual Golf Scramble – a local tradition that pairs an enjoyable morning of golf with helping your community.

Cost: $400 per team

Where:
LaFortune Park Golf Course
5501 S Yale Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

  The biggest sporting event in history for Broken Arrow is set to happen on Friday, August 23rd. The event will take place outside in Downtown Broken Arrow near the intersection of...

Cost: $52.00

Where:
Downtown Broken Arrow
The intersection of Commercial and Main streets
Broken Arrow, OK
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Website »

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Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


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Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

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Wings, Wheels & Wishes is a fly-in, car and bike show benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma in loving memory of Collinsville Wish Kid, Bill Campbell. Our event features vintage...

Cost: Free to the public

Where:
Airman Acres Airport
12600 N. 73rd E. Ave.
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Telephone: 918-510-3423
Contact Name: Cindi Conner
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  Our 17th Annual CimTel Classic 5K is August 24, 2019! The registration begins at 6:30am and the race begins at 8am at Cleveland High School 600 N Gilbert Cleveland, OK. The entry fee is $25 for...

Cost: 25.00

Where:
Cleveland High School
600 N Gilbert
Cleveland, OK  74020
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Sponsor: CimTel
Contact Name: Allee Pearson
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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Maker Faire Tulsa is an award-winning, family-friendly event celebrating technology, education, science, arts, crafts, engineering, food, sustainability, and making of all kinds. The 7th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Central Park Hall at Expo Square
1701 S Sandusky Ave
Tulsa, OK  74112
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Sponsor: Fab Lab Tulsa
Telephone: 918-779-6025
Contact Name: Nathan Pritchett
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Cost: FREE

Where:
Central Park Hall @ Expo Square
4145 East 21st Street
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Bobby O’s Slices + Pies, located in the Meadow Gold District along Route 66, will host a day of meal deals, merchandise giveaways, and kids activities for their Back-to-School Bash. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bobby O's
1502 E. 11th St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: Bobby O's
Telephone: 918-586-2455
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Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

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America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
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DIVAS JUMP THE POND - THE BRITISH INVASION!! DIVAS 4 H.O.P.E. features live music from Tulsa’s diverse local artists along with cocktails, dinner, and one-of-a-kind live and silent auction...

Cost: $15,000 - $250

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Assembly Hall - Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
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Sponsor: Health Outreach Prevention Education, Inc.
Telephone: 918-688-5022
Contact Name: Kathy L Williams
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Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

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