Work Begins in Tulsa
Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) started the school year with a burst of energy, catalyzed by new superintendent Deborah A. Gist, one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Dr. Gist has energized the central office in many ways: an “un-convocation” video featuring a pep-talk and dance party, a new open office design, and, most importantly, a new five year strategic plan that will address some of the biggest challenges facing TPS.
TPS has the potential to leverage their unique strengths to transform student outcomes. These strengths include a robust teacher evaluation system that combines three different measures of effectiveness, a commitment to investing in principal support, and large technology grants that allow TPS to develop innovative blended learning designs.
Dr. Gist and the central office team are undertaking these efforts in the context of declining enrollment, low overall funding, and high teacher turnover. TPS is one of only two large urban districts in Oklahoma, and its proficiency rates are lower than the state in math and ELA.
ERS and Tulsa Public Schools are partnering to tackle these challenges in a variety of ways. We will:
- Use the System 20/20 Diagnostic to provide up-front insights into how TPS is using its people, time, and money.
- Track the “big bets” TPS has made in and across its schools, from initiatives to put a device in the hands of every TPS student to alternative school designs, ensuring that the sum of these initiatives results in an equitable and coherent strategy.
- Create a map of how TPS uses its resources, with a focus on building capacity for high-impact change at the district level throughout the process.
Ultimately, ERS’ work will inform Tulsa’s new five-year strategic plan with the support of rich data analysis and strategic insight.