For the fifth year in a row, Tulsa Public Schools had an increase in the number of students graduating. Rogers College High School saw a 2.7 percentage point increase, Tulsa MET doubled their number of graduates, and Booker T. Washington had a 99 percent graduation rate for the fourth consecutive year. Hale High School also saw an increase of five percentage points because students, families, and staff were all focused on the same goal.
“We do quarterly grad checks when they are a senior. We do phone calls with parents to make sure parents are understanding what their student needs to graduate,” said Principal Sheila Riley. “Students who are off-track, we call them in to let them know what their choices are to graduate. Just making sure all the senior teachers are in constant communication with students about where they are and what they need.”
For students who do get behind, credit recovery can help get them back on track.
“It does help students who have already sat through the class. Oftentimes they know the material, they just didn’t do the things necessary to pass like turn in your work. It’s easier for some students in an online platform because there’s not papers to shuffle around,” said Principal Riley.
It isn’t enough to just have students graduate though – Tulsa Public Schools staff works to ensure all who don the cap and gown are prepared for life after high school.
“We are really stepping up the rigor in our classes. We are working with College Board to make sure that our students are prepared to take the SAT, making sure students are proficient in reading and math. We’ve seen a steady increase in our growth over the past two years. We continue that focus this year,” said Principal Riley.
The new Tulsa Beyond program is already generating excitement about its potential to help students excel. It offers a flexible learning environment for students who are enrolled in the program at Hale, Webster, and Tulsa Learning Academy.
“We have a diverse population, and they don’t always fit into that square box. So, we’ve got to start making some round places for them and some triangle places for them,” said Principal Riley. “I think in a few years you will see not only more students graduating college and career ready, but you’ll also see more students reaching a higher level of academics.”
Principal Riley says the most important thing families and school staff can do to get students to graduation day is to keep encouraging them.
“To see them with that big, huge smile on their face is worth every bit of struggle that we go through to get them there. It’s the funnest day of the year. The smiles, the excitement that they made it, the hard work paying off. They get up on that stage, and they are dancing with joy,” she said.