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TPS Gearing up for Enrollment Push for 2021–2022 School Year

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After losing about 3,000 students over the past year, Tulsa Public Schools is planning a big enrollment push ahead of the window opening on Jan. 5.

District Director of Strategy, Finance and Operations Cesar Dominguez told the TPS Board on Monday a revamped process showed promising results last year, with twice as many students applying to four times as many schools. But he said it also fell short in some ways.

"The goal is to get families in schools they want to be at, and the more we can do that, the better. Some subgroups had more success than others, so we want to make sure we build a system where everyone is equally successful," Dominguez said.

TPS is working on a promotional campaign that will launch this month. District officials are also overhauling an enrollment website and giving schools greater insight into who’s applying and improved abilities to reach out to them.

Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said it’s all been happening despite the demands of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Next school year’s going to come whether we are ready for it or not. So, we are going to be ready for it," Gist said.

TPS Board member Jerry Griffin said he wants to see even greater effort than what district officials are making.

"We have to have a sales program, not just an enrollment program, that reaches out to those 2,000 students or the parents that withdrew their three kids and are frustrated with Tulsa Public Schools — come home. We’ve got to sell them. Why should I come back? Why should I give you another chance?" Griffin said.

The 3,000 students lost over the past year were three times what district officials expected. Flagging enrollment has been partly to blame for the district’s financial woes. Gist has also said state funding is an issue.

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