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Steering Committee, district assemble visioning committee to determine next steps for BAHS

The Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) High School Configuration Study (HSCS) Steering Committee was expected to make a recommendation on the future framework of Broken Arrow High School (BAHS) to the Board of Education at the May 8, 2017, meeting. However, district leadership and the Steering Committee recently decided to pend the recommendation until more answers about academic programming and extra-curricular activities can be answered.

“This study is a process that has been in place for nearly two years, and from the beginning, we have known that community and stakeholder input is crucial in determining our next steps as a district,” said Dr. Janet Dunlop, BAPS Superintendent. “As we heard feedback from the community during the recent forums, and as we visit with the Steering Committee, it is evident that we need to slow down a bit. Right now, we have more questions than answers.”

BAPS continues to grow at a rate of about 2 percent each year. As the district continues to grow, it is critical to have a plan for the future, and an important part of that planning is the configuration of the high school. In July 2015, BAPS commissioned a high school configuration study to research and plan for the future configuration of BAHS. The study was divided into four phases: preparation (July 2015 – December 2015), planning (January 2016 – March 2016), research (April 2016 – December 2016) and the recommendation (January 2017 – May 2017).

In October of 2015, the BAPS Board of Education hired a third party facilitator and demographer to help guide the Steering Committee through the various phases of the study and evaluate the research presented. To ensure that all community stakeholders had a voice in this process, a steering committee comprised of parents, district staff, students and members of the community was appointed and approved by the Board of Education in November 2015.

For the majority of 2016, the Steering Committee has spent several months analyzing data from working groups, data from the demographer’s growth projections, and feedback from community forums and surveys held last October. The ultimate goal of the Steering Committee is to determine a configuration model that will maximize student achievement and engagement given the available facilities, financial resources and human capital.

The Steering Committee evaluated the findings and brought a preliminary recommendation to the community for their feedback in late March. Feedback on the preliminary recommendation was collected through an online feedback form, as well as through two community forums held in early April.

“The process that has been in place had us approaching this decision from the wrong direction,” added Dr. Dunlop. “This decision cannot be about buildings – it must be about our students and what the community has told us they want: strong academic programming, smaller learning communities and more opportunities for students to connect with their learning in relevant ways. Many of the questions the community has posed cannot be answered until a visioning committee can work together to determine those details. Before we have any more conversations about buildings, we need to have our experts – our teachers and administrators – determine the programming options inside of those buildings. Ideally, we will leverage existing resources unique to the Broken Arrow area, including Tulsa Technology Center, Tulsa Community College, Northeastern State University, and other local universities and business partners.

Based on comments from the feedback form, which included responses from parents, grandparents, staff, students and others, most Broken Arrow residents want to ensure that campuses are equitable in regard to facilities and academic programming. The visioning committee will work together to determine academic and extra-curricular programming details, find ways to alleviate capacity at BAHS by creating off-campus opportunities, as well as ensure that all students have comparable opportunities and resources across campuses.

The visioning committee will be comprised of classroom teachers grades 9-12 and administrators through an application process facilitated by district leadership. Applications are expected to be made available to staff in late April, and the interview/selection process will begin in late May. Visioning work will begin this summer. After the visioning committee has determined how to provide the best programming options for students, they will present their findings to the Steering Committee.

For more information and to stay advised of the updated timeline, please visit www.baschools.org/goba.