Introducing ImpactTulsa’s Executive Director, Carlisha Williams

Tulsa, Okla. —  Carlisha Williams, seasoned education and Tulsa community leader will join ImpactTulsa as Executive Director.   “As we approach our fifth year in supporting  better education outcomes for all students in the Tulsa region, Carlisha Williams is the perfect leader for the next phase of our work,” said Kathy Taylor, Impact Tulsa Founder and chair of the Leadership Council. “Carlisha is not only steeped in education policy but is a nonprofit leader, native Tulsan, social enterprise strategist and best-selling author.  Her lifelong passion and commitment to...

Attendance predictive model: driving policy changes and interventions for students at risk of chronic absenteeism

By: Jessica Smith, Director of Early Learning     At every age, for every demographic, and in every school district, the story is the same: students who miss more school than their peers are more likely to have lower academic outcomes and also delayed development of crucial social skills needed for success.   In the United States, about 5-7.5 million students miss almost a month of school every year, meaning they are chronically absent. These absences lead to some serious consequences. Many national studies show this lack of instructional time...

New outreach program: Parent Advocates reaching out to zip codes with low pre-K enrollment

In an effort to reach all 4-year-olds in the Tulsa area who need to be enrolled in pre-K, ImpactTulsa is launching a new outreach program where trained parents knock on doors where there is historically low pre-K enrollment.   Children who attend pre-K outperform those who do not. Kids who have pre-K as a foundation achieve more at every stage along the education continuum. To ensure all kids have the opportunity to achieve, ImpactTulsa is committed to the goal of increasing pre-K enrollment in the Tulsa area...

How ImpactTulsa leverages different advertising streams to increase awareness about pre-K enrollment

We do everything from billboard campaigns to knocking on doors to make sure we reach the most people we can to spread the word about the importance of pre-K education.    Educating the public about the importance of pre-K education coupled with explaining how to get students enrolled are strategies used by ImpactTulsa to increase the number of Tulsa-area 4-year-olds attending pre-K. We disseminate awareness through commercial and grassroots communication channels.   “We try to get the word out through every possible medium,” said Jessica Smith, ImpactTulsa director of early learning. “We try to meet parents where they are – by providing special...

Why we do what we do: Increasing pre-K enrollment is a priority and here’s why

Having your 4-year-old attend pre-K will prepare him or her for their future. At ImpactTulsa, we strive to enroll every Tulsa-area child in pre-K because it builds a strong foundation for later academic success. Here’s why:   The research is clear. Children who attend pre-K outperform children who do not. Children who do not attend pre-K are less likely to have the skills they need to do well in kindergarten and beyond. In fact, Georgetown University tracked Tulsa students from pre-K to eighth grade and found positive...

Quality Early Learning Makes Tulsa a Great Place to Grow Up

By Tom Vander Ark   Tulsa is a great place to grow up, in part, because there is really good access to quality early learning. In 1998, Oklahoma passed a law providing for free access to prekindergarten. Families in Tulsa benefit from leading edge programs supported by the George Kaiser Family Foundation (@gkff) and the Schusterman Family Foundation. Improvement and talent development efforts are coordinated by ImpactTulsa (@ImpactTulsa) a regional nonprofit.   Dr. Kathy Seibold is Executive Director of ImpactTulsa, a collective impact organization that seeks to align regional efforts around key outcomes including a healthy start, kindergarten ready and...

Community Leader Spotlight: ImpactTulsa

By Lane Russell Director, Community Engagement | America's Promise Alliance   Alex Paschal, Manager of Community Engagement for ImpactTulsa, is “motivated by the vision of ensuring all students are guaranteed a high-quality education and a pathway to thrive.” That’s why Paschal and the team at ImpactTulsa are helping more students finish high school prepared with the resources they need for postsecondary success.   ImpactTulsa is an education partnership focused on measuring academic outcomes from kindergarten to postsecondary education. They do this by partnering with more than 300 organizations and they impact...

Union High: How a Big School Makes Learning Personal

By Tom Vander Ark   South of Tulsa are a couple high functioning one high school districts. Rapid growth and community interest in competitive sports resulted in super-sized high schools.   In some districts, big schools mean some young people, especially those that haven't been well served or supported, to feel disconnected and fall through the cracks. Superintendent Kirt Hartzler explains that Union High School bucks the trend with a commitment to 100% graduation and college and career readiness for all students. Union's graduation rate has gone up despite...

Expanding Access To Powerful Learning In Tulsa

By Getting Smart Staff   Deborah Gist grew up in Tulsa. She earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at the University of Oklahoma. After teaching and a couple of east coast masters degrees she ran Serve DC, an extension of the D.C. mayor’s office promoting service as an innovative, sustainable solution to pressing social challenges.   Gist went on to lead the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in DC. Three years later she was became chief in Rhode Island where she ran what Tom called the most innovative...

Why School Attendance Matters for Kids, Parents and Community

Students who miss 10 percent of school days are considered chronically absent. That is an average of two days a month or a total of 18 days over the school year. In Oklahoma, 11.7 percent of students are chronically absent. Developing good attendance habits early is important because chronic absenteeism goes up with age—from 9.5 percent in elementary school to 16.1 percent for high school students.   “Chronic absence is an early warning indicator for low achievement and high school dropout,” says Kathy Seibold, ImpactTulsa executive director....