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....

Everything you need to know to enroll you child in Pre-K

Free Pre-K enrollment is now open throughout the Tulsa region for children who will be 4 by September 1. “The Tulsa area offers some of the best free pre-K programs in the country,” said Kathy Seibold, ImpactTulsa executive director. “The skills learned during the pre-K year are building blocks for children’s success in kindergarten and throughout their educational career.”   Enrollment for pre-K at Tulsa area schools has already begun. Here’s what you need to enroll your child at most schools:   Your child’s birth certificate Your child’s up-to-date...

Graduating Students Urged to Complete FAFSA 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now open for 2018 graduating students seeking continuing education after high school. The FAFSA provides free funding to eligible students and is not a student loan.    The FAFSA is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. However, only 50% of the class of 2017 completed a FAFSA form. Here is the Information you need to successfully complete the FAFSA form and gain access to funding:      A Federal Student Aid ID (you can easily get one at fsaid.ed.gov)  Social Security Number (Alien Registration Number, if you are not a U.S. Citizen)  Federal...

Center for Public Research and Leadership: Improvement as a Series of Learning Opportunities

By Kimberly Austin, Ph.D., CPRL Engagement Manager   At the Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) at Columbia University, we have observed a tendency in education, healthcare, and other sectors to view improvement as one of two extremes. On one hand, there is an attraction to each big idea that comes along. We are excited by results in one city or the program that seems to answer all the problems that keep us awake at night. On the other hand, there is an intense feeling of...

Why the Oklahoma Teacher Walkout Matters

by Kathy Seibold, Executive Director of ImpactTulsa   Today.   This very day.   Oklahoma sits at a crossroads.   Will Oklahoma make education funding a priority? The result of this historic teacher walkout will give us that answer.   First, some good steps: The Oklahoma Legislature created positive momentum this session with the teacher raise that was written into law. The Oklahoma State Department of Education took great and powerful measures in the spring of 2017 when it unveiled new standards and assessments linked to college and career readiness.   With these changes, we are now measuring...

Changes to OK State Standards: Learning for the Long Run

by Joy Hofmeister, OK State Superintendent of Public Instruction   By now, most Oklahomans are aware that public schools have received test scores from the spring 2017 Oklahoma School Testing Program (OSTP) assessments – and the results are significantly different than in past years.   In recent weeks, we have been meeting with a host of education stakeholders – including educators, the business community, legislators and nonprofits, members of the media and others -- to provide the context for the test results. Our children, teachers and schools have not changed;...

Pre-K: Tulsa’s Important Role

by Diane M. Horm, Ph.D., and Sherri Castle, M.S., Early Childhood Education Institute (ECEI) at OU-Tulsa   Currently, 42 states, including Oklahoma, invest state funds to offer pre-K to 4-year-olds as a strategy to enhance young children’s school readiness and success.  Pre-K enrollments have grown dramatically over the past 20 years from virtually 0% to approximately 32% of the country’s 4-year-olds in 2016.   Oklahoma has been a pioneer and leader in pre-K programing and research.  Oklahoma was one of the first states to offer pre-K programs and is currently one...

Uncovering What Works

by Heidi Black, Senior Manager, Innovation at StriveTogether   What does it take for a community to achieve better results for every child, birth to career?   This is a question that I grapple with every day in my role as Senior Manager, Innovation at StriveTogether. One way that we have helped collective impact partnerships, like ImpactTulsa, answer this question is by launching impact and improvement networks.   Created to provide professional development in the use of continuous improvement, an impact and improvement network helps partners from multiple organizations align their...