13 Tulsa schools close permanently Thursday
BY ANDREA EGER World Staff Writer
Friday, June 03, 2011
6/03/11 at 7:41 AM
Project Schoolhouse: See continuing coverage of Tulsa Public Schools’ Project Schoolhouse initiative.
Last day of school reminders emblazon marquees all over town, but Addams Elementary School's bears an epitaph - 1949-2011.
The school is one of 13 in Tulsa where Thursday was not only the last day of classes for 2010-11 but also the last day teachers and students may ever walk the halls because of a consolidation effort.
"It's a very bittersweet day," said Linda Holland, who has taught at Addams for 30 years. "Normally, it's 'Bye until next year.' This time, it's 'Bye until we don't know when.' Our family is going to be scattered in many different directions."
Some last-day festivities were the same as they've always been at the school that serves a rural area near Oakhurst on the western outskirts of Tulsa.
The pickle walk and pop walk games were going on in the gym; yearbooks were fresh off the presses and being distributed; and, outdoors, teachers were gathered with students and their families for a picnic lunch followed by special playground activities, like "belly bumpers," which is like bumper cars but with special inflatable tubes and no electricity.
Other things were special. The PTA went all out and helped fund the purchase of backpacks for every child that were labeled with Addams' opening and closing dates and packed with items for summertime fun. They also had lunch catered by Billy Ray's BBQ and Catfish.
Addie Lewis, who taught language classes at Addams through a Muscogee Creek Nation grant, treated students to Indian fry bread topped with honey.
Second-grader Sarah Morris, 8, was accompanied through the halls by her father, Ruben, and 12-year-old brother, Kevin.
"We came to say bye to all of the teachers," Ruben Morris said. "All three of my kids have gone here, my wife graduated from here and her parents did, too."
Morris is doing what many other parents at Addams said they were doing, too - awaiting word on whether Allen-Bowden Public School, a few miles to the southwest, would accept their transfer requests for next year.
As Tonya Lang and Mary Pruitt watched their third-grade boys participate in the pickle walk, they recalled their own school days as students at Addams and lamented the changes to come.
"I don't think it's fair for the kids here and I don't think the superintendent even considered that," Lang said. "He also never stopped to take into consideration that we wouldn't just send our kids wherever they said because we don't have to."
Pruitt said many parents banded together to request transfers into Allen-Bowden because "it's very important to try to keep the kids together."
Tracy Johnson, the principal's secretary who has worked at Addams for 16 years, said the impending closure of the school has been difficult for kids and adults alike.
"Everybody's been so upset. We had to call a first-grader's mom because he got so upset seeing the library being packed up. People don't realize that little kids see it all and realize it all," she said. "Right now, there is the fear of the unknown, but I think acceptance has started to settle in."
Teachers like Barbara Winfield, who has spent all 36 years of her career teaching at Addams, are still waiting to hear where their new assignments will be.
"This place has become my home," Winfield said, dishing out scoops of meat swimming in barbecue sauce onto students' plates. "I'm hoping for another westside school."
Principal Sheila Armstrong said Addams students will be reassigned to Park and Remington elementary schools in Tulsa, but she also expects many to transfer into the Allen-Bowden, Sapulpa and Sand Springs districts.
"This is one of the last country schools attached to Tulsa Public. These are country folks, good people, and this school is the hub of the community," Armstrong said.
Project Schoolhouse bringing changes
Buildings closed (14)
Central feeder pattern: Chouteau, Roosevelt
East Central feeder pattern: Sandburg
Edison feeder pattern: Barnard
McLain feeder pattern: Alcott, Cherokee
Memorial feeder pattern: Grimes
Rogers feeder pattern: Cleveland, Wilson
Webster feeder pattern: Addams
Other: ECDC Bunche, Franklin, Lombard and Fulton Teaching and Learning Academy
Buildings converted, all current students reassigned to other schools (9)
Bryant, Gilcrease, Hamilton, Houston, Lewis and Clark, Madison, Nimitz, Phillips, Rogers
Reopened as school (1)
Source: Tulsa Public Schools
Original Print Headline: Last day 'bittersweet'
Andrea Eger 918-581-8470
Third-grader Bailey Beaver relaxes on a belly bumper during the last day of school at Addams Elementary School, 5323 S. 65th West Ave. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
First-graders Jada Davis (left) and Jessenia Fellix dance along with support staff employee Jenny Eyer during the last day of school at Addams Elementary School, 5323 S. 65th West Ave. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
Kindergartners Brantley Duncan and Jessica Hearn eat sno-cones during the last day of school at Addams Elementary School, 5323 S. 65th West Ave. MIKE SIMONS/ Tulsa World