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North Tulsa Task Force holds open meeting to discuss future of McLain 7th Grade Academy

Posted at 6:48 PM, Oct 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-29 19:53:26-04

TULSA, Okla. -- The future of a 7th grade center in north Tulsa is up in the air, leaving parents concerned about what's next for their kids.

Tulsa Public Schools recently created a task force to try and come up with a solution.

The idea of closing McClain 7th Grade Academy has been brought up for years, however this year the closing has become a reality unless the task force can come up with a way to keep it afloat.

 "Our kids are not being educated, that's the problem,” Rev, M.C. Potter with the North Tulsa Task Force said.

Community members in north Tulsa are now fighting to give area kids a future they deserve and TPS is on board.

 Potter said the hope is to give kids a better education which will prepare them for life. The goal is to give children the opportunity to pursue college if that’s what they wish to achieve.

Before McLain 7th Grade Academy became its own facility, 7th graders attended school at McLain High School. Officials said because of overcrowding, the 7th Grade Academy was created in hopes to enhance student education.

 “Seventh graders [are] still reading on second and third grade levels,” Potter said. “We're not ready for college [and] dropping out of school."

Over the years, enrollment at the academy did not sustain itself. In the 2013-2014 school year, 240 7th graders were enrolled. By 2017-2018, that number dropped to 92.

 TPS considered closing the school but held off.

 “The superintendent decided to leave it for one more year and do some study as to what should actually happen,” Potter said.

 Now, the North Tulsa Task Force is trying to determine why no one is attending and what’s best for students.

 “Education in north Tulsa still has a way to go,” Potter said. “Many students are still behind the curve."

TPS issued a statement about the issue as well as the future outlook of other north Tulsa schools.

We believe that our schools are central to our neighborhoods and that big decisions about them are best made in partnership with our community. Through conversations with North Tulsa community members during the winter of 2017-2018, it was clear that as opportunity exists not only to address McLain 7th Grade Academy but also to examine the pre-kindergarten through 12th grade configuration challenges in North Tulsa. The North Tulsa Task Force has been charged with recommending a facility solution for the McLain 7th grade students that uses our existing facilities effectively, works within our financial realities and existing resources, and accounts for the trade-offs and impact any recommendation might have for elementary schools in the McLain feeder pattern and for students and teachers in McLain Junior and Senior High School. We are grateful to Rev. Potter and the task force members for taking on this important work and look forward to the group’s eventual recommendations."

The Task Force held its first public meeting on Monday, opening a forum for concerned parents. As of right now, no proposals have been made on how to keep the school, but the task force hopes to come up with a proposal by December.

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