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Welcome to Union Public Schools!
Union Public Schools, Independent District #9, Tulsa County, is a premiere Oklahoma school district where "Together We Make a Difference," from early childhood education to 100 percent college and career readiness, from community schools to expanded avenues for individual student success including Science, Technology, Engineering & Math. Download a brochure about the district.
The eighth largest public school district in Oklahoma, Union has approximately 16,000 students, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, residing within a 28-square-mile boundary encompassing both southeast Tulsa and a portion of Broken Arrow. The school system is the heart of the community and serves as a unifying force. It includes an early childhood center for three-year-olds; 13 elementary schools pre-kindergarten through fifth grade including the brand new Ellen Ochoa Elementary School; and five secondary schools—a 6th/7th Grade Center, 8th Grade Center, 9th Grade Center, High School (Grades 10-12,) and an Alternative School for grades 9-12.
In addition, Union's Adult Education Learning Center serves northeastern Oklahoma, offering GED classes, English as a Second Language and more.
Parents choose the Union district for its all-around excellence. They take great pride in its wide-ranging, dynamic academic programs; award-winning activities; caring, talented teachers; highly respected elected and administrative leaders; and remarkable facilities. Union is one of the leading districts in Oklahoma in the number of teachers earning National Board Certification and in number of Presidential Math and Science Award recipients.
Union’s Community Schools—elementary schools complete with health clinics and services from community agencies—serve as a model to other districts nationwide. They increase academic success by forming community partnerships to provide extra supports such as early care, health and social services, out-of-school activities, family/community engagement, neighborhood development and lifelong learning.
In addition to challenging Pre-Advanced Placement (AP) classes, Union offers a variety of Advanced Placement classes which allow students to earn college credit while learning about a subject in depth. In partnership with Tulsa Community College (TCC), Union was one of the first to pilot a unique concurrent enrollment program at the Union Collegiate Academy (UCA) on its High School campus, enabling qualifying students to earn both high school and college credits at the same time – virtually tuition free! It has not been unusual for some to graduate with both a high school diploma and enough credits for an associate degree.
UCA provides students a challenging college-like experience with TCC instructors, tiered lecture halls, advanced science labs, student lounges, and specialty food shops, along with a safety net of high school staff members there to ensure their success. Counselors in the UCA’s College and Career Center help students and their parents complete college entrance, financial aid, and scholarship applications or bank college credit through Tulsa Technology Center. Students love the UCA’s online courses – Union Virtual Learning Academy –because of the flexibility they provide and because teachers are always there to assist.
The Union community provides whatever it takes to ensure all students graduate college/career ready. Successful bond issues have funded state-of-the-art tools to enhance reading, language, math, science, and writing skills at every grade level. Art, music, and physical education enrich the traditional curriculum. Professionals in remedial reading, speech therapy, and special education are assigned to the schools along with library media specialists, nurses, and counselors. Courses for gifted students are offered at all levels, as are programs for English Learners.
Union is accredited by the Oklahoma State Department of Education and AdvancED. Its accreditation process, involving parents, teachers and administrators at each site, is considered a model for other school districts.
Our mission is to graduate 100 percent of our students, college and/or career ready.
The following core values serve to guide our strategic focus and actions in accomplishing our mission:
- Commitment to Excellence –Pursue the highest measure of quality in all that we do.
- Collegiality - Demonstrate respect and an ability to work as team members.
- Honesty, Integrity, Transparency – Do what’s right and above board.
- Innovation – Embrace new, effective thinking and programs.
- Inclusiveness – Cultivate an organizational culture of accepting children, families, and employees for who they are rather than categorizing them by income, ethnicity, or ability.
- Empowerment – Help people reach their full potential.
- Accountability – Accept responsibility for achieving results.
- Thoughtful Planning – Use data and district values in planning and decision making.
These strategic goals in the following focus areas provide guidance for leadership, policy decisions, and development of initiatives, programs, and strategies to achieve our mission.
-Ensure that all students – through greater personalization -- have access to a high-quality instructional and educational environment that prepares them for college or a career.
- Enhance the communication, advocacy, and engagement with our students and families.
- Close achievement gaps for all learners.
- Differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all students.
- Promote ongoing professional learning for teachers and leaders.
- Successfully implement the TLE Evaluation System and Oklahoma Academic Standards.
- Use multiple measures for student success.
- Expand partnerships to enhance learning opportunities for student success and for greater human and organizational capital.
- Promote greater awareness and engagement among school stakeholders to enhance support and funding for public education.
- - Establish business and alumni partnerships in order to garner and sustain continued support for Union Public Schools.
- Human Capital
- Recruit, develop, retain, and support caring, motivated, innovative professional faculty and staff.
- Ensure the operating and capital budgets reflect our priorities as well as areas of focus and need.
- Promote operational safety and high-quality infrastructure to ensure effective and efficient learning and working environments.
- Maintain a technology system that promotes teaching/learning and efficiency within the operational functions of the organization.
- Foster an atmosphere of respect and effective communication.
- Promote a commitment to equity and excellence.
- Maintain a caring, professional, and ethical organization.
- Maintain a safe and secure teaching and learning environment.
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.
- In 2015-2016, Union grew by 183 students. With a 1.2 percent increase over the previous year, Union served 16,006 students – 7,721 at the Pre-Kindergarten and elementary level and 8,285 in grades 6-12. Districtwide, 7,809 students were female and 8,197 male. English Learner (EL) services were provided to 2,717 elementary and 775 secondary students; 532 became Englishproficient and exited the program. Our diverse population spoke more than 50 different languages.
- There were 3,067 identified gifted students first through 12th grade served by a variety of courses and programs.
- More than 11.59 percent, or 1,856 of our students, were enrolled in special education.
- There were more than 1,000 students (grades PreK-7) enrolled in Union’s Extended Day Program.
- A record 3,370 students were served in Union’s Adult Education Program which covers six counties - Mayes, Muskogee, Osage, Tulsa, Rogers, and Wagoner - with more than 75 classes meeting morning, afternoon, and evening. These include General Education Diploma (GED), English as a Second Language (ESL), Temporary Assistance for Needy
- Families (TANF) and Corrections classes.
- In 2015-2016, our GED testing facility graduated ore than 325 students. Our testing lab is qualified to offer over 300 different tests including, but not limited to, teacher certification, insurance, Information Technology, American College, nursing, personal trainer, and financial planning.
- During 2015-2016, the dropout rate was 0.25% at the 8th grade level, 1.15% in 9th grade, and 2.21 percent in High School. The cohort graduation rate was 88.3%. Learn more about our student success in the Student Achievements page under the High School section.
Employees Statistics & Achievements
- In the 2015-2016 school year, Union employed 995 teachers, 911 support personnel, and 77 administrators. Of the district’s 77 administrators, 62 were certified and 15 served in positions not requiring education certification.
- The ethnic diversity among Union staff was African-American 5.5 percent, American Indian 5.34 percent, Asian 2.22 percent, Hispanic 11.4 percent, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander .10 percent, Caucasian and other 75.39 percent. Four hundred seven were male and 1,576 female.
- Of the teaching and administrative staff, 38.43 percent held graduate-level degrees – 395 had master’s degrees, two had specialist degrees, and 15 had doctorates. Seventy-five teachers achieved National Board Certification.
- The Union Education Service Center was recognized as a 2015 “Certified Excellence” business by Certified Healthy Oklahoma for its emphasis on employee health.
- Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler was named the 2016 OASA District #5 Superintendent of the Year by the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators (OASA).
- Union was recognized as a Rising Star during the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s Mosaic & Workforce Economic Inclusion Forum as one of five area businesses and organizations working toward diversity and inclusiveness in the work place.
- The district broke its own record by raising $218,000 for the Tulsa Area United Way campaign, a 4.9 percent increase over the previous year’s donation.
Student Engagement: Co-Curricular Activities
- High School students have many opportunities for involvement with 51 different clubs and organizations available.
- More than 14,425 Union students were involved in some formof the arts, including 6,922 elementary students who took both art and music classes. At the secondary level (grades 6-12), 1,017 were in band; 598 in orchestra; 1,401 in vocal music; 1,556 in drama; 235 in competitive speech/debate; and 2,462 in a wide variety of visual arts disciplines.
- More than 1,600 students (grades 7-12) were involved in Union’s 23 competitive athletics and spirit programs. Participation jumped to more than 2,800 in K-12 in the district’s 167 non-competitive teams and spirit squads.
Union’s proud tradition began with its formation in 1919 when four rural communities – Alsuma, Boles, Mayo and McCollough – consolidated. There were only four students in its first graduating class. Union’s original borders were much broader, extending as far northwest as 21st Street and South Yale. Those portions, however, were annexed by the Tulsa Public School District in the 1950s, making Union’s current northwest border 31st and Mingo Road.
Enrollment gradually increased and new programs were added. Then, Tulsa’s development rapidly spread toward the southeast, leading to new office and home construction and a burst of growth for Union. In 1968, there were 800 students in the entire district. In 1995, that number grew to 11,500 and to about 16,000 in 2017.
Union has experienced significant growth in the past decade. During the 2004-2005 school year, the district recorded total enrollment of 13,969. In 2015-2016, enrollment reached 16,006. See Statistics and Annual Reports for a breakdown on specifics.
Parent and Community Involvement
Union is part of a community that consistently supports the school system. More than 2,000 volunteers from throughout the community work in its schools.
The Parent Teacher Association is active in all the schools and works with Union to provide equipment and scholarships for students and supplies for teachers. The Union Schools Education Foundation, which was established in 1991, raises and distributes funds to teachers for classroom-based projects. In addition, a number of parents are active in booster clubs for athletics and spirit programs, as well as band, music and drama.
A community partnership with the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Tulsa has allowed Union to open three health clinics - an employee clinic and school-based clinics at Rosa Parks and Roy Clark Elementary Schools. The clinics provide preventative health care, physical exams, immunizations and same-day treatment for a host of common ailments and typical childhood illnesses. Students and their families are eligible for care, whether they have insurance or not. For those who are uninsured, the services are free. The clinics have helped to curb absenteeism, promote good health, and encourage good grades.
The Community Action Project partners with Union to provide the program for three year-olds, while the Community Service Council, the City/County Health Department and a number of organizations such as the YMCA and Boy Scouts of America team with the district to offer a variety of services and programs.
The Child Nutrition Department served an average of 9,900 lunches, 5,800 breakfasts, 5,000 snacks, and 250 supper meals each day. The number of students qualifying for free/reduced lunch has steadily increased over recent years and is currently at 63%. The district spends approximately $4 million for food each year including Farm-to-School produce grown locally. Of the 183 child nutrition employees, 42 were Serve-Safe certified, and all employees were Culinary Arts trained by the district Executive Chef.
The district offered MySchoolBucks®!, an online payment service that provides a quick and easy way to add money to a student’s meal account using a credit/debit card.
More than 10,000 students rode the bus on a regular basis during 2015-2016. The district maintained a fleet of 102 school buses and 92 support vehicles. Seventy-one buses ran daily routes traveling approximately 5,937 miles per day on average, and there were 54 shuttle routes and 20 after-school routes. Activity buses traveled more than 90,000 miles during the school year.
The district maintains more than 2.8 million square feet of facilities. A strong corporate tax base and patrons who consistently pass bond issues have helped Union to build spacious, well-equipped facilities including the Performing Arts Center in the High School. The Union Multipurpose Activity Center, 6836 S. Mingo Road, is a state-of-the art building which houses the 6,000-seat John Q. Hammons Arena, fine arts and athletic offices, classrooms, a Wellness and Sports Medicine Center, and the U-Wear Spirit Store. The UMAC also hosts a number of community events and even college-level games.
Other outstanding facilities include Union-Tuttle Stadium at the High School, a new soccer complex at the 8th Grade, a 3-meter swimming pool with a seating capacity of 400 at the 6th/7th Grade Center, a modern baseball/softball complex and a new tennis court at the 9th Grade Center.
The Operations buildings house transportation, maintenance, warehouse and grounds crew behind the Union Alternative School. Union also maintains Central Park at Union at 62nd and Mingo, a practice field at 61st and Mingo.