TULSA - The Oklahoma Department of Education released its list Thursday of schools that are being considered for "state partnership."
The C3 partnership stands for college, citizen and career readiness.
McLain's high school and junior high is the only school in the Tulsa area to appear on the list, said Damon Gardenhire, communications director with the State Department of Education.
Officials at McLain say there is already a lot of work in place to turn things around, but it's an uphill battle.
"Whatever happens with our partnership, I truly believe that it will be a compliment to things that we have already put in place," said Ebony Johnson, co-principal and former student at McLain High School.
She says students deal with a variety of challenges including low incomes, a higher crime rate and low expectations at home.
"What I do every morning, is as soon as I get another college acceptance letter, I shake the letter into the intercom and I make a really big deal out of the fact they just got accepted into college,"
She has worked to bring the graduation rate, attendance and college enrollment up, but test scores are still low.
This new partnership with the state is expected to help.
"The state department can help us in securing federal grants, they can help us with deregulation, they can help us with professional development, there are areas where the state department can contribute," Ballard said.
He says the program will only work if it truly is a partnership.
"I want to make it clear, this is not about operational control, this is not about takeover," Ballard said.
A committee is being put together now, exactly what will happen with this program has yet to be determined.
"Let me emphasize this, we haven't decided what we are going to do at McLain, that would be the worst possible thing we could do, is to decide without fully engaging the community and without bringing people together," he said.
Six other schools were chosen for the partnership program, including Okay High School. The rest are in Oklahoma City.
The schools on the list are part of the bottom 5 percent of low-performing schools across the state.
The State Board of Education was presented the list for C3 partnership Thursday morning. They will review the list and vote on it at a special meeting April 9 before any action is taken.
State Superintendent Janet Barresi and Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard released the following statement regarding the C3 partnership:
"Over the past several weeks, we have been engaged in productive conversations about a meaningful partnership. Our goal has been to develop targeted and tailored strategies to improve student growth and achievement. As a team of reviewers has analyzed information about a number of low-performing schools, a consensus has emerged around the beneficial impact a partnership can have for McLain High School as a C 3 Partnership School, along with additional benefits and regulatory flexibility for the entire Tulsa Public School District. While we are making a preliminary announcement today regarding McLain High School, there is still much work to be done. The State Board of Education must still make its decision in early April, and details of an overall partnership still must be finalized. The entire community must be meaningfully engaged in this process. We are committed to an inclusive process, and we are encouraged by the progress of discussions about details. We anticipate that future instructional strategies for McLain won't be fully developed until the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, with the possibility of some aspects being phased in prior to that time. This will be a collaborative effort with Tulsa Public Schools, the State Department of Education and the community. We will work closely to ensure that students who come to McLain have educational opportunities that will help them to succeed in careers, college and as productive citizens of our state and nation. Today's announcement is an important first step as we begin the process of gathering extensive parent, community, educator and student input before moving forward with any future instructional model for McLain."
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