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Seven Statements on Saving Cherokee School

1. I am a proud graduate of Tulsa Public Schools, from Cherokee Elementary, from Monroe Jr High, and from McLain High School. I am a resident of Tulsa Schools who moved back here from Owasso so my daughter could be in the school district. I have helped fund and start the McLain School Foundation and love being a part of the McLain initiative. I am part of a Partner in Education group active at Cherokee throughout the year and as coordinator of the full summer long child nutrition program at Cherokee. I am not objective I know when it comes to Cherokee and McLain; first, I think Cherokee and McLain, both so close on North Peoria, are interwoven in their destinies reflecting our neighborhoods in the 74126 which are naturally multiethnic and don't rely on commuter students to make them so; secondly, because my wife and I met in kindergarden in Cherokee, and started dating in McLain...but it is not about the past.

2. We should take all this energy of the past year and month and be focusing our attention and energies on gathering people for rallies in OKC to demand that the state political leadership give our children the public education they and the state deserve instead of helping them in their efforts to gut public education or lower its standards for families who can't afford private school. Let's seriously try that first; people are awake now.

3. Much to applaud in the SchoolHouse Plan. Much. And much for the northern part of Tulsa is good. But instead of rushing it we need to make sure that we aren't leaving gaps like Cherokee tht will have unintended consequences

4. Mainly, we need to know and be able to discuss Why Cherokee has been recommended for closure. Based on the measurement criteria as we go over them, particularly compared with our neighboring schools, We Just Don't Get It. You know there has been a rush because no one has come to talk with Cherokee staff or parents or community leaders about the reasons, or to go over the proposed alternatives. This far into the process and why has there been no sit down even with the staff to explain, to review, to look at the alternatives as we see them, alternatives backed by three state legislators representing our area. Without that transparency, authenticity, no effort will be rewarded in creating community anywhere.

5. So, why not, instead of reopening Monroe which is right next to another elementary school , why not put that wonderful new program for it into a school already open like Cherokee, thus rewarding the turnaround success and the natural multi-ethnic diversity of the school? Cherokee is easy to get to from anywhere.

6. So, why have three schools serving children in grades six and under right next to each other within a half mile of each other on North Cincinnati? Go ahead and keep Houston and Greeley nd bring the community school planned for Gilcrease down to Cherokee which is already in the pipeline working on becoming an official community school?

7. Finally, in the long run, bonding Cherokee and its surrounding community better with McLain, where students go to 6th grade at Cherokee and then immediately to 7th in McLain, will build back that connection (which lost when the problems at Gilcrease as a middle school step to McLain caused many at Cherokee and elsewhere to leave) and that connection will keep aiding McLain in its amazing transformation success story as a shining example of a naturally integrated multi-ethnic school that reflects the face of the amazing zip code we are all here in.

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