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Teaching & Learning Overview
Academics are a priority at Union Public Schools. Union offers programs for students as young as 3 to adults. Union wants everyone to succeed with their goals.
Our mission is to graduate 100 percent of our students, college and/or career ready.
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.
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.
1. Early Childhood Education
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 three-year-olds and their families who meet federal poverty guidelines.
The number of Rosa Parks Early Childhood Education Center’s three- and four-year-olds was 175, and 764 four-year-olds were enrolled in PreK classes districtwide for the 2016-2017 school year.
2. Community Schools
Union has expanded its Community Schools 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 Roy Clark and Rosa Parks elementaries provide services for Briarglen, Ellen Ochoa, Grove, Jefferson, and McAuliffe elementary schools.
Other program offerings include programs such as running clubs, cooking demonstrations, chess tournaments, Baby Book clubs designed to help young parents encourage reading to infants, reading initiatives and more.
3. STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. 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.
Educators from all over Oklahoma continue to visit Union to learn how it has implemented the Project Lead The Way curriculum at all of its elementary school sites. Darnaby Elementary is nationally recognized for its PLTW curriculum and how it incorporates STEM.
In 2018, representatives from several area schools toured the district to learn more about STEM offerings and its Project Lead The Way curriculum. At Darnaby, fifth graders showed off what they had learned in robotics, and second graders demonstrated their computer algorithm and basic programming skills by building games on iPads. Eighth graders in the Automated Robotics Extension class worked on a rover/portable generator to deliver solar energy to colonists in an alien biosphere. High School students conducted genetic tests using electrophoresis to determine if the specimen had the capability to taste a certain compound.
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.
The High School’s robotics team, Ubotics, continues to be a powerhouse in competition as students across the district enjoy robotics classes as early as elementary age.
The Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance and its partners introduced Tulsa STEM Cafe for local high school students and STEM professionals. The informal learning environment connects students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math with local professionals and reiterates the need for alternative educational programs that will prepare the youth for college and career outside of the classroom. For more highlights, see our 2016-2017 Annual Report
4. College & Career Readiness
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!
For six years and counting, Union Public Schools has been recognized by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education as the Oklahoma’s Promise 2017 State 6A Champion for having 152 seniors from the class of 2017 qualify for the Oklahoma’s Promise Scholarship. In 2016, 129 seniors qualified for scholarships, 158 in 2015, 174 in 2014, 166 in 2013, and 128 in 2012.
Oklahoma’s Promise, also known as the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP), is state funded. It allows students, from families whose annual income is $50,000 or less, to earn a scholarship to an Oklahoma public college or university or it can be used to pay for a portion of tuition at eligible private colleges in Oklahoma.
Union celebrated 55 freshmen in December 2017 after they were named to the first class of the new Early College High School – a pilot program between Union and Tulsa Community College to offer college-level courses to high school students. A second cohort of 52 students were named to the program in May 2018. Early College High School is a joint effort between Union and Tulsa Community College that provides eligible students the opportunity to earn up to 60 college credits concurrently while attending Union High School. Students who complete the program will receive both an associate degree and a high school diploma upon graduation.
Union also offers concurrent college at the Union Collegiate Academy (UCA) for only $12.75 through a partnership with TCC. In 2016, this partnership brought to 13,404 the total hours of college credit students earned, with an estimated savings to Union families of more than $6,000,000 since the program began in 2010.
Twenty-one Advanced Placement (AP) courses were provided, and 499 students took a total of 859 AP exams. Three hundred sixty, or 72.14% earned a score of 3 or higher.
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. The program has grown from 27 since it started in the fall of 2014 to 74 in May 2017.