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Teaching & Learning Overview
In order to fulfill our mission of graduating 100 percent of our students college and career ready, Union focuses on four main areas: Early Childhood Education, Community Schools, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and the Union Collegiate Academy Experience.
Union Public Schools believes in the importance of early childhood education. Its mission is simple: to enhance the development of very young children and promote healthy family functioning.
Union’s Rosa Parks Early Childhood Education Center, a unique partnership with CAP Tulsa, provides educational services from certified teachers in a beautiful and exciting learning environment for 236 three-year-olds and their families who meet federal poverty guidelines.
Another 756 four-year-olds were enrolled in pre-kindergarten classes districtwide, according to 2014-2015 statistics. All-day kindergarten is offered at every site, and as space is available, Union also offers a free full-day pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds.
With the Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiative (TACSI) and its umbrella organizations, the Community Service Council and the Tulsa Metropolitan Human Services Commission, Union has expanded its community school numbers and philosophy through partnerships with area businesses, foundations, colleges & universities, churches, and a vast array of community organizations, groups, and agencies.
Union’s community schools concept continues to serve as a model to other districts nationwide. Increased academic success has been achieved through community partnerships created to provide extra supports such as early care, health and social services, out-of-school activities, family/community engagement, neighborhood development, and lifelong learning.
The school-based health clinics at Clark and Rosa Parks elementaries provide services for Briarglen, Boevers, Grove, Jefferson, and McAuliffe elementary schools.
The Carrera Program, which began at Union in 2011 with 240 sixth graders, has expanded into the high school level. Parents have shown strong support for the pregnancy prevention initiative, which effectively helps adolescents make good choices while providing financial literacy, lifetime sports classes, art and music programs, and a full array of services--from tutors and mental health counselors, to dental and health care. The initiative was funded by a federal grant, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, and Tulsa’s George Kaiser Family Foundation.
McAuliffe has been named as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School by Franklin Covey Co. for their outstanding student outcomes by implementing The Leader in Me process and because of the extraordinary impact the school is having on staff, students, parents, and the greater community. A Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation grant has helped provide McAuliffe students with those leadership opportunities, special academic programs, enrichment opportunities, hands-on experiences in the community, mentoring for families, and community events for families to connect with their school and each other.
From science labs at every elementary and middle school, to state-of-the-art Biotech and Alternative Energy labs at the High School’s Union Collegiate Academy, the district offers a wide range of STEM opportunities.
Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler was selected by the U.S. Department of Education as one of 100 top school leaders from across America to participate in the first-ever National Connected Superintendents Summit at the White House in 2014-2015. The event built on the momentum of the ConnectED Initiative, a plan President Obama announced in 2013, to connect 99 percent of students to high speed Internet and empower teachers with the technology they need to transform teaching and learning. Dr. Hartzler was among exemplary local school chiefs recognized for their leadership in helping transition their districts to digital learning.
Dr. Vince Bertram, President & CEO of Project Lead The Way, visited Darnaby and the Union Collegiate Academy. Project Lead The Way is a national program designed to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In 2016, Darnaby was named a Project Lead the Way Showcase School.
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation granted $500,000 to Project Lead The Way (PLTW) to support PLTW at Union. In addition to the $500,000 gift, the foundation committed up to $250,000 in matching funds. The grant allows the district to quadruple the number of K-12 students enrolled in STEM programs from approximately 4,000 students in 2014-15 to nearly all of its 16,000 students in 2017-18.
Remarkable strides continue toward achieving Union’s ambitious mission of graduating 100 percent of its students. Among the 3,480 Union High students represented by the classes of 2014, 2015, and 2016, all but 11 met the high-stakes testing requirements for graduation!
College classes offered at the Union Collegiate Academy (UCA) for only $12.75 through the EXCELerate partnership with TCC bring to 8,724 the total hours of college credit students earned, with an estimated savings to Union families of more than $5,000,000 since the program began in 2010.
In 2014-2015, 22 Advanced Placement (AP) Courses were provided; 573 students took 1,090 AP exams; and 55 percent earned college credit by passing them.
In 2015-2016, 11 students were recognized as National Merit and another five as Commended Scholars; 73 seniors were designated as Class of 2015 Oklahoma Academic Scholars; and 76 percent of Union seniors took the ACT; their average score was 21.5%.
In May 2016, ten seniors earned Valedictorian status by ranking in the top 1% of the class as determined by their weighted grade point average, and 10 were named Salutatorians – the top 2%.
In January 2016, Union earned the Class 6A Championship for graduating the most Oklahoma’s Promise participants for the fourth consecutive year; 158 were eligible to receive scholarships.
More than 600 seniors qualified to receive Tulsa Achieves scholarships through TCC.
Three seventh graders in 2016 won Duke TIP Grand Recognition for exceptional scores in Duke University’s Talent Identification Program - the largest program of its kind in the nation.
Union Career Connect was designed to align to the district’s goal of “100% graduation, college and career ready.” The “learn to earn” model placed students in industry-based experiences that could evolve into paid internships and full-time employment. In 2014-2015, nine students served as paid interns in manufacturing areas and 11 in automotive mechanics. Bama Companies, Inc., and APSCO offered full-time jobs to more than half of Union’s manufacturing interns following graduation, and students earned a total of 69 nationally recognized work-ready certifications.