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Community meeting with Tulsa Public Schools in McLain High School cafeteria
Report By Founder and Executive Editor Nehemiah D. Frank
Dr. Deborah Gist is entering her third year as the superintendent for Tulsa Public Schools.
Between TPS and Tulsa’s north-side residents, community trust continues to be the biggest task set before Dr. Gist’s and her administration.
Last Thursday’s meeting at McLain high school elevated the city’s African-American community’s frustration in regards to decades of mistreatment by TPS toward north-side schools, which boast predominately African-American student demographics.
Dr. Gist said, “the project at Emerson Elementary school is to create a wonderful new elementary school for North Side students.”
Emerson Montessori, Tulsa, Okla.
During the meeting, the mention of Emerson’s renovation project and the implied Montessori caused the room to erupted in negative commotion; northside residents voiced their skepticisms, and many rejected the idea that TPS could be genuine enough to build a Montessori school for black students.
Dr. Gist continued,
“I know there is a lot of speculation…so, I said opening up, there’s a lot of mistrust in this community; I understand that. So, we have an opportunity at Emerson elementary to have a very special program, Emerson Montessori. It is a neighborhood school.
So, there’s a lot of conversation saying well that’s not being built for the neighborhood. This was something in the 2015 bond. It was a decision that was made many years ago, to do a renovation at that building and I think part of where the mistrust is coming from is that in the bond it was talked about as the downtown school.
So what’s important for you to know is, I didn’t get here until later. What I do know is downtown is in the Catchment area for that school. So whether we like that that decision was made, it is a school that serves students from a large Catchmen area, and an area that has a large African-American student-body.”
One spectator from the crowd voiced “You have all of west Tulsa going to Emerson.”
Dr. Gist responded, “okay, well I can check my data, but I’m pretty confident about my familiarities with the school.”
Emerson Montessori boundaries extends west to the LL Tisdale, south to 11th St, east to Peoria, and North to Pine
Earlier this week, confusion about a lottery system was debunked with an unofficial statement from Emily Hall Hutton.
“I have personally spoken to the instructional leadership, director for Emerson who is also the principal supervisor tonight. I don’t know where the principal became confused or why she relayed wrong information. Nothing has changed, and Emerson will follow board policy on transfers – no lottery.”
Nehemiah D. Frank is the Founder & Executive Editor of the Black Wall St. Times. Frank is also the Co-Executive Producer of the “Dominic Durant Sports Show.” Frank graduated from Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL in General Studies, and earned a 2nd degree in Political Science from Oklahoma State University. He is highly involved in community activism, a middle school teacher, a blogger for Education Post, and dedicates most of his time to empowering and uplifting his community. Frank is a 2017 Terence Crutcher Foundation Honoree and has been featured on NBC, Blavity, and Tulsa People.