Broken Arrow’s Students Have Smart Starts
Quality schools give Broken Arrow a talent advantage.
Broken Arrow has one of the highest educational attainment rates in the state, thanks, in part, to the area’s standout school districts.>
“As part of our mantra of ‘100% Literacy, Engagement, Graduation,’ we continually focus on providing students with educational opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom,” says Janet Vinson, superintendent of Broken Arrow Public Schools. “Our culture is what makes our district so special. We really are a family here. It’s the people inside the buildings who make a difference.”>
The district has four early childhood centers and 16 elementary schools, including Rosewood Elementary School, which opened for the 2020-21 school year.>
“I think what makes this school special is that it contains a cistern, solar panels and wind turbine,” Vinson says.
The water collected is used to irrigate landscaping, and the solar panels and turbine are used to conserve energy. Classrooms are utilizing solatubes, a skylight-type feature designed to increase a student’s productivity.
Broken Arrow Public Schools also has several options for high school students, like a freshman academy that groups freshmen into teams to prepare them for the transition into high school through a number of activities.
The Options Academy is a special program designed for students falling behind in their studies, using smaller student/teacher ratios and innovative teaching techniques to help them catch up. The BA Virtual Academy serves pre-K-12 students with the same rigorous academic format but as an online option.
The district’s Project Pathways program connects students to a possible career path based on their personal interests, strengths and abilities.
The program’s components include career exploration at the elementary level, college and career planning at the secondary level, and career pathways, including internships and opportunities to earn college credit in high school.
The program currently partners with over 20 local businesses that are providing students with internships or apprenticeships. With the goal to graduate every student from high school with an internship taken in an area of interest, the program is groundbreaking for the region.
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The school district is also preparing to launch a $21 million STEM Innovation Center for high school students.
“Most schools focus on growing students’ knowledge; we will focus on growing students’ knowledge, skills, mindset and creativity to equip our graduates with a toolkit for life,” says Emily Lim, K-12 STEM specialist, Broken Arrow Public Schools.
The STEM Innovation Center will include labs, a workshop, a build shop and a number of outdoor classrooms. Its goal is to prepare students to enter the workforce with STEM knowledge to serve them in their careers.
Wealth of Choices
Union Public Schools, which serves southwest Tulsa and northwest Broken Arrow, is a nationally recognized school district that offers a range of options, including an early childhood center, 13 elementary schools, a sixth and seventh-grade center, an eighth-grade center, a freshman academy, a high school and an alternative high school.
“Several of our schools are structured as full-service community schools,” says Chris Payne, chief communications officer at Union Public Schools. “They are nationally recognized for their work in neighborhood development, parent involvement, academic enrichment, physical and mental health, and family activities to create student achievement.”
One of the other notable things about the area’s schools is their sense of school spirit and numerous extracurricular activities.
“Our community undoubtedly supports our students and staff, and to know that I live and work in a place that values the success and education of every student is very special,” Vinson says.
Getting a Head Start
Early College preps students for higher ed coursework.
Broken Arrow Public Schools offers a unique program for incoming high school freshmen and sophomores called Early College High School.
Here, ninth- and 10th-grade students do grade-level coursework while simultaneously being prepared to undertake college-level coursework upon completing their sophomore year. Classes are held on the campus of Northeastern State University-Broken Arrow.
Classes are taught by Broken Arrow High School teachers in a smaller learning environment with the support of peer and study groups. Students have access to the university’s labs, libraries and other services. This program also saves parents money for college and increases first-generation college attendees. Students in athletics and fine arts are also able to participate as they return to their high school campuses for part of the day for electives and extracurricular activities.
If you’d like to learn more about the Broken Arrow, OK area, check out the latest edition of Livability Broken Arrow, OK.