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Tulsa Public Schools reflects on things like safety and belonging in State of the District report

Posted: 12:27 PM, Sep 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-24 18:38:23-04
TPS releases State of the District report

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Public Schools released the State of the District report this month, looking at a range of factors affecting students.

Some of these include the day to day, like academic performance and absenteeism. Other factors go deeper, like safety and belonging.

At McClure Elementary, the goal is meeting all student needs.

"As soon as they come into my classroom they plot their mood on the mood meter so I can see where they're at and so I know how to approach them. Especially if they're not feeling well or starting their day off wrong, I want to know that so I can help them so that they can start their day off right," 5th grade teacher Cheyanne Johnson said.

New data by Tulsa Public Schools shows 50 percent of students feel like they belong, and 57 percent feel safe at school. Staff with the district said recognizing this is the first step in moving forward.

"It's important that they problem solve. It's important that they know that their teacher is there to take care of all of their needs and to make sure that they're successful in every area," student and family support services director Ebony Johnson said.

McClure is making strides to tackle both issues. They've added things like empathy interviews to address belonging, and a tornado safe room in case of emergency.

"No one wants to go somewhere they don't feel safe. If you don't feel safe at school you don't feel welcome, you're not going to come. You're not going to learn, you're not going to be your best self. It's super important for students to feel safe so they feel welcome to come here and like they can be safe here," Cheyanne Johnson said.

In Johnson's classroom students are also learning breathing and calming exercises, and she's noticing an impact.

"The way that a student feels builds on the way that you will work with them at school. You have to know a student and know how they feel when they come to school in order to best serve them," Johnson said.

The study also looked at things like absenteeism and academics, and the district expects improvements to grow in the year ahead.

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