Selected readings on US charter schools
Leaders on both sides say the new collaboration compact goes further to ensure a true a partnership by providing both a schedule for regular communication and a list of common goals and planned actions.
Gary Percefull, the school board member who heads a board subcommittee on charter schools, called the overhaul of the compact “forward thinking on our part” and thanked his fellow members for “be willing to consider moving beyond where we’ve been and thinking about how we can improve how we serve our kids today.”
“We’ve come a long way from where we were five or six years ago. We’ve come from a place where we were opposed to the state’s Charter Schools Act and were litigating,” he said. “Now we’re embracing our charter partners.”
Bobbie Gray-Elliott, who has served on the school board on and off for the better part of the last two decades, remarked, “It is amazing to me how far we’ve come. It’s not a ‘we’ against ‘them.’ I am so excited that we can embrace each other as partners.”
Board member Lois Jacobs, who represents the Memorial High School feeder pattern, cast the lone “no” vote.
Many board members recently toured all three Tulsa Public Schools-sponsored charter schools — KIPP Tulsa College Preparatory, Tulsa Lighthouse Charter School and Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences.
Outside of Tuesday’s board meeting, Eric Doss, director of Arts and Sciences — the district’s oldest charter school partner — called the new compact an expansion of previous cooperation, which has primarily consisted of leasing out TPS facilities.
“I hope it helps us to share ideas, facilities, and funds more easily, because both the district schools and the charter schools are working very hard to help kids in Tulsa succeed,” he said.
The school district received guidance from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on how to update its nearly 2-year-old charter compact to be more collaborative and friendly, and the district is awaiting word about whether it will be selected for a new Gates Foundation partnership that could lead to grant funding for charter-collaboration projects.
Through the new compact, the school district and its three charter schools are committing to:
Work collectively and in coordination to ensure that every student is college and career ready.
Implement a common and coordinated enrollment system for families.
Support transparency, accountability and equitable access to services and resources.
Ensure that every student has an effective teacher and every school an effective leader.
Recruit, develop and retain talented educators.
The compact opens with a pledge to work collectively to address Tulsa’s high rates of poverty, student mobility and parental disengagement.
“While significant progress has been made to address historically low student achievement results, growing English language learners and special education populations, many public schools still open their doors every fall to students two, three or more years below grade level,” it states. “In this reality, there is no time for isolation and competition.”
Jana Burk, executive director of the Tulsa Public Schools Teacher/Leadership Effectiveness Initiative, told the Tulsa World that both sides have committed to total transparency with student enrollment data; charters will be sharing their expertise in student data use; and the school district will be opening all of its professional development opportunities to charter administrators and teachers and even designating space in its new centralized enrollment center for charter schools.
Source: Tulsa World – by Andrea Eger