Tulsa Dropout Prevention Summit
Mayor Kathy Taylor and the Tulsa School District hosted Tulsa’s summit themed “Keeping Our Promise” with 200 leaders in attendance. The summit significantly increased the profile of this issue in the community.
- A community dropout action plan has been submitted with a goal to reduce Tulsa’s dropout rate to 20% or less by 2018. The plan also outlines expanding dropout recovery programs, implementing a graduation coach initiative, developing data systems for better student tracking and developing community schools at the middle/high school level. They will also focus on state policy to set mandatory attendance age to 18.
Summit Planning Team:
Planning committee included three area superintendents and school board, principals, teachers, mayor staff, YWCA/YMCA, Community Service Council.
Progress Since the Summit
- The Mayor has been working with Tulsa’s higher education community to urge them to “reach back” and work with “common education” (what K-12 is called in OK). There are three school districts in the Tulsa area. Two of the biggest – Tulsa and Union schools – are focusing on better preparing their students for post-secondary education and/or work. Tulsa Public Schools is going through an extensive high school re-design process.
- While the original summit planning committee is no longer meeting, one of its strongest members, the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa, is now leading a Higher Education Forum comprised of nine institutions of higher education, the director of high school redesign for Tulsa Public Schools, and an area superintendent. The Forum began meeting three months ago, and plans to meet monthly to strengthen the connection between higher and common education. The first task has been to work with K-12 leaders to better define the “asks” of the higher education community. (Anecdotally, the dropout summit was one of the first major events for the new superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools and the new head of Tulsa Tech. This helped frame and build a close working relationship.)
- Tulsa was recently awarded a YouthBuild grant and brought Teach for America to the school district.