Community , Education

TPS soliciting feedback on redesign of Indian Education program

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Public Schools is soliciting feedback on three versions of a redesign for its Indian Education program.

After two nights of focus groups with community members, tribal officials, students and parents, TPS sent families an email on March 19 with a survey link outlining three different redesign proposals.

Currently, the district has seven certified resource advisers who are all paid for through federal funds. However, TPS officials have maintained that a reorganization is needed due to a drop in 506 forms that are used to determine federal funding. District enrollment overall has dropped by about 5,000 students since the 2004-2005 school year.

Further limiting the budget are the state-mandated raises for certified teachers, including all seven resource advisers. Although the state of Oklahoma required the raises, it did not include additional financial resources to cover certified teachers and administrators whose salaries are paid from federal funds.

The proposals were put together by the focus groups based on budget projections. Confirmed, final numbers will not be available until later this spring.

Option No. 1 calls for the office to have six certified resource advisers on a 10-month contract, plus a lead resource adviser on a year-round contract. Each would work with the schools within a specific high school’s feeder pattern. The program would also have a Native American literature teacher who would rotate among the district’s 10 middle and junior high schools, seven teaching assistants and funding for 15 tutoring stipends.

Option No. 2 calls for the office to have five certified resource advisers on an 11-month contract, plus a lead resource adviser on a year-round contract. Instead of having a Native American literature teacher, this proposal places more of an emphasis on field trips and cultural activities. It would also pay for four teaching assistants and 20 tutoring stipends. 

Option No. 3 calls for the office to have six certified resource advisers on 10-month contracts, plus a lead resource adviser on a year-round contract. It would also implement multi-grade level programming for students across the district in an effort to build up leadership and networking opportunities for the district’s Native students. It would also pay for four teaching assistants and 40 tutoring stipends.

With schools suspended statewide through at least April 6 in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, it is unclear when the board of education would formally hear or vote on the proposals. The district is accepting community feedback through 2 p.m. on March 31.