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Foundation Supports Programs For TPS Pupils
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Foundation Supports Programs For TPS Pupils

All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, John Neal, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

EDUCATION


Hundreds Of Northside Students Benefit

While Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) receives the majority of its funding from state tax dollars, millions of dollars in local grants and contributions boost the TPS education budget annually. Additional charitable donations also support public education in a variety of ways under the auspices of the Foundation for Tulsa Schools (FTS).  

Working in conjunction with its philanthropic donors and partners, the Foundation has announced new programs to supplement efforts to assist disadvantaged families. In an interview, Foundation officials discussed its programs with The Oklahoma Eagle

These local charitable efforts are of interest to The Oklahoma Eagle readership because they support the educational experience and academic achievement of hundreds of students including many in the north Tulsa community. This supplemental financial assistance strengthens the economic and social networks, making student learning possible. Aid flows directly to TPS educational activities, students, families, and educators. 

While Oklahoma has over 200 public educational charitable foundations, surpassing many larger states, the Foundation for Tulsa Schools is an award-winning leader among education charitable efforts in Oklahoma.  

Moises Echeverria, president and CEO for the Foundation, told The Oklahoma Eagle that the organization is expanding its activities to combat chronic student absenteeism in Tulsa schools. FTS and its many partners have also announced plans to provide additional resources and services to families at the Parent Resource Center in north Tulsa. 

The local charities aimed to boost education efforts as Tulsa Public Schools faced increased pressure but received limited assistance from Ryan Walters, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Oklahoma State Education Board. New Board orders and rules pose serious accreditation risks for the TPS school district, including the possibility of state takeover if state student test scores fail to meet expectations beginning with April testing. The Oklahoma Eagle has extensively reported the risks TPS faces.  


John Croisant, KanDee Washington, Maria Seidler, Calvin Moniz, Sarah Smith, Teresa Pena, Tulsa Public Schools, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, John Neal, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Tulsa Public Schools Reckoning Imminent

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Ebony Johnson is pulling out all the stops to improve the academic achievement scores of Tulsa students in the state testing that is scheduled to take place in April. In February, the Oklahoma State Board of Education formally adopted new rules setting minimum standards for student test performance. The board’s apparent objective is to sanction the TPS school district if it fails. 


Overcoming chronic absenteeism 

In public forums, TPS Superintendent Ebony Johnson has repeatedly raised the issue of chronic absenteeism among Tulsa students.  

“You can’t teach them if they are not there,” she has often said, referring to student absences and lagging educational achievement.  

Recent studies have documented a double-digit explosion in post-COVID chronic student absenteeism nationwide. However, absences from school are most significant in large urban school districts, particularly among economically disadvantaged minorities. Chronic absenteeism has soared to over 40 percent of the student population in TPS. Student attendance is a concern in north Tulsa schools at all grade levels and school locations. 

TPS has unveiled a new plan to address chronic student absenteeism in a 2024 plan dubbed “Attend to Win.” The Foundation is seeking new sponsors to support the initiative. An outline of the plan in its formative stages points out, “Students who are chronically absent are more likely to suffer academically and socially and are more likely to drop out.” It adds, “Students who live in high levels of poverty are 4x more likely to be chronically absent than others.” 

FTS President Echeverria told The Oklahoma Eagle that planning and collaboration with TPS are in its early stages, but elements could include addressing “housing, transportation, safety, physical and mental health needs” and possible “incentives” for school attendance.  

Additionally, to keep more students in school, Tulsa Public Schools announced to The Oklahoma Eagle that it would expand its student meal program to all students in the 2024-25 school year. https://theokeagle.com/2024/01/09/tulsa-public-schools-to-expand-student-free-meals-program/  

Parent Resource Center 

The following is a list of resources available to parents of TPS pupils.  

The Parent Resource Center in the North Star building, located at 525 E. 46th Street North, reported on its website, “Our Parent Resource Center exists to provide services and support to North Tulsa families and families in Tulsa Public Schools.” The Foundation for Tulsa Schools annual Impact Report reflects over 3,300 students and families are served through the Center. The location includes resources and services from seven partner agencies. TPS offers enrollment assistance and computer labs for parents and families. 

The Parent Resource Center can be accessed at the following website: https://www.tulsaschools.org/student-and-family-support/prc  

It lists that the following services are coming soon: 

  • English-language classes for parents and families 
  • Support services for jobseekers 
  • Programs and services to support families during pregnancy, birth, and early childhood through eight years old 

Tulsa Responds provides support with SoonerCare, Affordable Care Act Insurance, food stamps, internet discounts, free tax filing, and skills training. 

The Family Liaison Program from ConnectFirst BEST supports expectant mothers and parents of children from birth through age eight and connects families to desired resources and services. 

Emergency Infant Services provides formula, diapers, food, and clothing to families with children ages five and under and pregnant mothers. 

Virtual Parent Academy features monthly sessions in the Parent Resource Center, providing families with opportunities through the school district and community. 

Family & Children’s Services offers regular parenting workshops and programming to strengthen individuals and families. 

The Parent Resource Fair provides collaboration opportunities and partnerships with community vendors who offer before and after-school daycare, after-school programs, homework assistance, and other community resources. 

Tulsa Teacher Corps 

At its March 28, 2024, Tulsa Public Schools Board meeting, Superintendent Johnson told board members the district can expect over 600 teacher vacancies for the 2024-25 school year. Teacher vacancies and turnover continue to plague Tulsa schools as Oklahoma schools rank among the bottom of states regarding teacher salaries and per pupil expenditures. Teaching proficiency is highly correlated with student academic achievement. 

See Also
Jeremy Kuzmarov, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

The TPS board approved Johnson’s request to provide one-time $3,000 signing bonuses to recruit teachers with standard teaching certificates to fill existing and anticipated vacancies. Additionally, of the 1,953 emergency or standard certified Tulsa teachers, 724 are “novice” classroom teachers, according to data released by TPS to The Oklahoma Eagle. Hundreds of new or novice teachers may need assistance to acquire additional college hours, complete testing requirements, or obtain hands-on training to become more effective classroom teachers. 

The Tulsa Teacher Corps, funded in part by the Foundation for Tulsa Schools, is one program that provides this development opportunity. As requested by Superintendent Johnson and approved by the school board, teachers lacking standard certifications will receive $1,000 signing bonuses if they commit to participate in the Tulsa Teacher Corp program. The Foundation reports over 80% of participants completed this program in 2022-23, and among past cohorts, “over 90% return for a third year in Tulsa Public Schools.”  

Other Charitable Support 

The most recent Impact Report for the Foundation for Tulsa Schools lists these additional programs for student, school, and educator activities and sponsorship opportunities for Foundation contributors: 

Adopt-A-School ~ Explore Oklahoma Field Trips 

School Sponsorship ~ Teacher Supplies Program 

Book Series ~ Principal Discretionary Funds 

Fine Arts ~ Teacher Mental Health 

Expanded Learning ~ Choice Neighborhoods 

Any Given Child ~ Grants for Great Ideas 

In the last five years, the Foundation for Tulsa Schools has provided over $45 million from philanthropic contributors to “program services” benefiting Tulsa schools, according to its audited financial statements.  And its charitable partners have contributed millions more.  

Elizabeth Inbody, executive director of Oklahoma Schools Foundation for Excellence, told The Oklahoma Eagle FTS will receive the 2024 Outstanding Program Award for its Healthy Thriving Schools Initiative. 


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