Tulsa Public Schools, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Oklahoma, USA

Tulsa Public Schools

At a Glance: Tulsa Public Schools, Oklahoma

Summer 2022 saw Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) use Off2Class virtual tutors to deliver critical summer learning for middle and high school refugee newcomers.

TPS is the largest school district in Oklahoma with 33,211 enrolled students, 9,400 multilingual learners, representing 76 languages and 37% of the entire student population.

Challenges for the English Program at Tulsa Public Schools

1. Support for Refugee Newcomers:

Spring 2022 saw Tulsa greet a number of middle and high school refugee newcomers. Supporting their integration into the academic environment was a high priority for the TPS team.

“These are refugee students, some arrived as late as January. They didn’t make it into the school sites till April. We wanted them to have a real experience.” Gracye McCoy, ELD Pathways Manager, TPS

2. English Acquisition & Engagement:

By de-emphasizing academic language and focusing on general & community English, summer supplemental learning can amplify student engagement and motivation to acquire the language and prepare them well for the coming school year. 

3. Teacher-Facilitated Learning & Staffing Shortages:

A teacher-facilitated approach is essential to driving student engagement, however staffing shortages proved a constraint for the ELD department team. This resulted in a student-self-study approach to programming.

The Off2Class Solution

The situation faced by Tulsa is not an uncommon experience. As covered in Listening to the Teachers: Six Ways to Tackle Disrupted Learning in English Language Learners (ELLs), numerous school districts are experiencing an increase of newcomers and EL student populations. Like Tulsa, many schools are looking to integrate refugees from current conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Ukraine. At the same time, districts are facing capacity issues around hiring, retaining and upskilling instructors to meet student demand.

By partnering with Off2Class, TPS was able to quickly roll-out additional capacity for the newcomer students. Over a period of four weeks, three Off2Class tutors worked as part of the TPS Virtual Academy to provide virtual and flexible learning options.

1. Personalized Support for Newcomers.

The students showed high levels of engagement with the virtual tutors. Summer supplemental learning normally focuses on credit recovery, however these students language skills were not at the level to make that possible. Therefore, focusing on enrichment activities allowed an efficient manner of supporting these newcomers.

The question was whether the students felt connected, whether they felt supported,” said McCoy. “And they completely did.”

2. Improved Conversational English

One area that TPS and Off2Class tutors reported high levels of engagement was in the students conversational English. Students valued structured time with ELD instructors and the chance to practice English.

“Even our virtual academy doesn’t see this level of engagement,” said Mccoy.

3. On-Demand High-Quality Instructors

By leveraging high-quality instructors from the Off2Class teacher community, TPS was able to move closer towards its goal of teacher-led facilitation of classes.

TPS reported that, “the students seem to really enjoy the lessons, despite feeling lost during the other parts of the day.”

High-dosage tutoring has been identified as an effective manner of combatting pandemic-induced learning loss. Leveraging quality virtual instructors can provide districts with a cost-effective and efficient manner of rapidly providing additional support to increasing student populations.

ELLs represent the fastest-growing student population. Off2Class makes it easy for districts to rapidly adjust to changing student numbers and quickly spin-up supplemental programs or provide high-quality instructors to position newcomer students for success. 

Our expert team can help you design a personalized Off2Class system that will empower your teachers and match the needs of the learners in your district. We can also advise on federal funding options. Book a consultation with our friendly advisors.

"“The question was whether the students felt connected, whether they felt supported," said McCoy. "And they completely did.”"

Quote owner  Gracye McCoy, ELD Pathways Manager. TPS