High School Configuration Study Steering Committee considers community input in developing plan
Community input to continue at forums scheduled for April 4 & 5
Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) began its High School Configuration Study in the fall of 2015. Since then, the steering committee has been evaluating various types of research to assist them in making the best decision possible regarding the future of the district’s high school. Because a significant part of the study includes input from BAPS stakeholders, the district conducted three public forums and a community survey in the fall of 2016 to collect feedback from parents, students, staff and the community. The committee is evaluating this information as it develops the recommendation it will present to the BAPS Board of Education later this spring.
Approximately 150 patrons attended the community forums with a majority of the questions and comments focused on the academic impact of the different configurations. There were also a number of inquiries regarding the academy model and how this might be implemented to be serve students.
In addition, nearly 2,500 individuals took part in the survey with parents or guardians of elementary or Pre-K students making up 40 percent of respondents. Thirty-six percent of respondents have been residents of Broken Arrow for six to 15 years. Some of the significant findings include:
- More than 85 percent of respondents are concerned or very concerned about the size and projected growth of Broken Arrow High School and the Freshman Academy.
- High academic achievement was the area that respondents felt was the most important when considering a new high school configuration.
- When considering the most important amenities at a new high school campus, respondents ranked fully equipped science labs and a full service cafeteria as the most important and a stadium as the least important.
- College and career readiness ranked as the most important focus in the area of academic achievement with the ability to earn college credit taking the second spot.
- More than 87 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that regardless of which configuration model was chosen, we must somehow divide students into smaller learning communities so they receive the individual attention they need to reach their full potential.
- Nearly 85 percent agreed or strongly agreed that if an academy approach was utilized, they must be structured to that students are not locked into pathways for their entire high school career.
- Nearly 69 percent agreed or strongly agreed that students would have more opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities in a multiple high school model. 15 percent indicated they weren’t sure.
- 61 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that remaining one comprehensive high school campus provides students with limited opportunities for participation in extracurricular activities. Nearly 13 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.
- 45 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that establishing a 10th grade center would create too many transitions for students from 9th through 12th grade. 16 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.
- 35 percent of respondents felt that dividing into multiple high schools would create an unhealthy rivalry among the different schools, with nearly 16 percent neither ageing nor disagreeing.
- While 59 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that an academy model would be beneficial because it would create smaller learning communities of students with similar interests, 25 percent were unsure.
- 38% of respondents felt it would be more beneficial for sophomores to attend a 10th grade enter than to be integrated with other grade levels. 23% neither agreed nor disagreed.
- 50 percent of respondents strongly disagreed or disagreed that dividing the current high school into multiple high schools would make our district less competitive, with 20% neither agreeing nor disagreeing.
On the survey, respondents were also allowed to submit brief comments and 721 took this opportunity. Approximately 400 of the comments were related to specific opinions on grade configurations. Of those, 90 percent of those who were 0-15 year residents indicated a desire for multiple high schools and 69% of those who had been residents for 6 to 15 years showing a similar preference. There was no specific trend on grade centers or academies except for a common theme to not lock students into pathways.
The steering committee is in the process of developing a preliminary recommendation which will be shared with the community at the end of March 2017. The district will then hold two community forums in April to allow patrons the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the proposed plan. The information from these forums will be used to finalize the high school configuration recommendation which will then be presented to the board of education in May.
- Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at Broken Arrow Freshman Academy at 6:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at Centennial Middle School at 6:30 p.m.