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Board of Education hears recommendation for future of Broken Arrow High School

After three and a half years of study and discussion, members of the high school configuration steering committee provided a recommendation for the future of Broken Arrow High School to the Board of Education during their regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 11.

The recommendation included implementing early career exploration, expanding career pathways, providing additional early college opportunities for students and building a new innovation/STEM facility with three possible locations, which is part of the second phase of the 2015 bond issue. The Board of Education is expected to vote on the facility location in the coming months.

In addition, the committee suggested three options for consideration contingent upon passing a bond issue in 2027.

  1. A second “Early Tech” magnet high school on Aspen Creek property
  2. A second and/or third academic magnet high school on BAFA campus
  3. A second and/or third comprehensive high school with career pathway academies on Aspen Creek or Oneta Ridge property

“Our current 2015 bond package does not include funds to build a new high school, and our community was clear that when another high school is created, it's important that all campuses have equitable facilities and academic programming," Superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop said. "In addition, it is illegal for the district to obligate a future Board of Education to future bond expenditures. These recommendations will simply provide a roadmap for the individuals sitting in leadership roles in 2027.

“In the meantime, we are providing solutions and opportunities for our students right now. From career exploration as early as 6th grade to getting an associate’s degree in high school, we are striving to create pathways that will provide a successful roadmap for our students while also extending the classroom into the community.”

To view the history and timeline of this process, please visit www.baschools.org/goba.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a magnet school?

A magnet school is usually defined as being part of the local public school system. Students would be able to attend these magnet schools based on academic opportunity and not based on the school that is nearest to where they live. All attendees would still be Broken Arrow students. 

What is a comprehensive high school?

A comprehensive high school would mimic the current facilities and programs at Broken Arrow High School but on another campus.

Why can’t we revote our current bond dollars to build another high school?

If patrons were to revote our current bond issue, the district would fall behind in a number of areas, which may include textbook and technology shortages. Bond funds are currently allocated for growth in kindergarten through eighth grade, which means there aren't enough current bond dollars to build another high school that would be equitable in programs or facilities as the current high school.

What is Early Career Exploration?

Students engage in an Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP) as early as 6th grade. This is a student-driven, ongoing process that actively engages students, enabling them to understand their interests, strengths, values and learning styles; create a vision of their future; develop individual goals; and prepare a personal plan for achieving their vision and goals. This will provide students with knowledge about careers of which they may have little exposure. Next steps for the district include curriculum design. 

What are Career Pathways?

Research proves that students who are dialed into a career pathway, starting as early as 6th grade, are more likely to succeed beyond high school and easily transition to post-secondary education or the workforce. Through carefully planned curriculum, Broken Arrow Public Schools students in grades 6-12 will use project-based learning to explore all aspects of various career interest areas in peer groups. Aligned with Career Tech and higher education degree programs, career pathways are an integrated collection of curriculum and programs that provide students with a roadmap for future success and an easy-to-read plan of study based on their interests.

These pathways are designed through a collaboration with colleges, economic development agencies and local Broken Arrow employers to make sure students are learning the skills most needed to be best qualified for available job opportunities. Students will often experience off-campus jobs, apprenticeships or internships in their junior or senior years. Additional pathways will form as partnerships with local businesses and colleges are built. 

Existing pathway examples include Pre-Manufacturing, Pre-Engineering and the Mullin Plumbing apprenticeship. Additional pathways are currently in the planning stages to begin within the 2019-20 school year. 

Phase 1 Pathway Recommendations

  • Health/Environmental/Animal Sciences
  • Computer Science/Cyber Security/Ecommunications/E-commerce
  • PreManufacturing/Pre-Engineering

Phase 2 Pathway Recommendations

  • Public Safety and Services/JROTC/Police and Fire/Political Science/Education
  • Business/Hospitality/Marketing/Public Relations
  • Creative Arts/Music Production/Graphic Design and Video/Visual and Performing Arts/Marketing and Blogging
  • All Digital/Programming/Coding
  • Fitness and Wellness/Physiology/Physical Therapy/ Health Promotion/Nutritional Science

Will students ever be stuck in a single pathway?

No. Career Pathways are roadmaps to provide students with choices and time to discover what interests them. Students can redirect their path at any time during their high school career.

What is Early College?

Data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows that time in a postsecondary classroom during high school can lead to more college-going behavior. Broken Arrow Public Schools has fostered relationships with local colleges and universities that allows high school students to take college credit courses part-time or full-time on a college campus.

Early College supports the “Power of 15” – an initiative based on the belief that students who leave high school with 15 college credits are more likely to attend college and stay there longer. This program also saves parents and students money for college and increases first generation college attendees.

An existing Early College example at Broken Arrow Public Schools is the Dual Credit to College Degree program, which offers students the opportunity to graduate high school with a diploma and earn an associate degree from Tulsa Community College. Then, the student has the option to seamlessly transfer to Northeastern State University to complete a bachelor’s degree.

What is the Innovation/STEM Center?

The Innovation/STEM Center is a $21 million build project listed in Phase 2 of the 2015 bond issue. This center would be geared towards solving real-world, relevant problems in a multidisciplinary project based platform. It will feature state-of-the-art lab spaces and multiple open indoor/outdoor spaces for exploration and innovative projects. The Board of Education will vote on location in the coming months. It is expected to open for the 2021-22 school year.

How will this free up space on the high school campus?

More than freeing up space on the high school campus, this approach to career pathways creates innovative and new ways for our students to learn. By embracing this approach to student learning, the Broken Arrow community becomes a classroom via internships and apprenticeships with local businesses. Additional enrollment options with Tulsa Community College, Northeastern State University and Tulsa Tech allow students to experience postsecondary coursework during high school on a college campus. These expanded academic opportunities will naturally provide more space in the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom.