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25 Tulsa Police Academy graduates on the path to becoming full-fledged officers in November

With a line of dripping-wet umbrellas in the hallway outside, the Tulsa Police Department welcomed its newest officers to the force Friday.

Tulsa Police Academy Class 2019-115 cadets received their badges at Friday’s ceremony, and the 25 new officers will continue field training before hitting the streets as independent police officers in November.

The department strives to hold three classes of 30 cadets each year. Maj. Ryan Perkins, the department’s training director, said a class of 29 stands to graduate in December.

Chief of Police Chuck Jordan said it’s incredible to see academy classes continue to grow after the department endured an officer shortage.

“We had gone so long being so short-handed, and now we’re starting to build up close to the point where we ought to be,” Jordan said. “It’s just exciting to be able to put enough officers on the street to engage our community, to do community policing and do all the things that need to be done.”

In remarks to the graduates, Mayor G.T. Bynum said officers ought to take note of the crowd behind them in the academy’s auditorium.

Bynum, who along with several city councilors recently observed academy training, said the city, its government and its citizens support them wholeheartedly.

“There will be times in your career where you will hear those loud, critical voices,” Bynum said. “We live in a most challenging time for law enforcement, and those voices can be loud at times.

“But when you come up here, I want you to look back at those in this crowd. They came here in the rain on a nasty day because they revere the work you will be doing. ... The citizens of Tulsa stand behind you 100%.”


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Sports
College football: OU fans met the Sooners on Friday; OSU fans get their chance Saturday

With still nearly a month left before the actual season begins, it’s meet-and-great season for fans of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State football.

Young Sooners fans got the chance to get autographs with their favorite players Friday in Norman, while Cowboys fans have their chance from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.

OU holds its first practice of the fall Saturday.

University of Tulsa fans will have a couple of chances in two weeks to see the Hurricane before the season starts. TU’s annual Kickoff Luncheon takes place at noon Aug. 13 at River Spirit Casino, and the school’s Fanfest takes place at 10 a.m. Aug. 17 at Chapman Stadium.

Season openers

TU at Michigan State

6 p.m. Aug. 30

TV: FS1; Radio: KXBL-99.5

OSU at Oregon State

9:30 p.m. Aug. 30

TV: FS1; Radio: KFAQ-1170

Houston at OU

6:30 p.m. Sept. 1

TV: ABC; Radio: KTBZ-1430

Inside sports

Emig: OU coach Lincoln Riley can relate to the work ahead for new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch

OU’s Jalen Hurts approaches QB competition the same as last year’s at Alabama


Entertainment
Tulsa World Magazine comes out Saturday; look for it in stands across Tulsa

The Tulsa 50 issue of Tulsa World Magazine will be in home-delivered newspapers Saturday.

Find out what 50 places, foods and events we are loving about Tulsa.

You will also be able to find the magazine at more than 100 locations across Tulsa, including Boomtown Tees, 114 S. Elgin Ave.; Mother Road Market, 1124 S. Lewis Ave.; and Mecca Coffee, 1330 E. 41st St.

Look for Tulsa World Magazine in your home-delivered Tulsa World on Saturday, Aug. 3. To subscribe to the Tulsa World or to Tulsa World Magazine, go to tulsaworld.com/subscribe or call 918-582-0921 or toll free at 800-444-6552.

Copies of the magazine can also be mailed to you for $4.95 by calling 918-581-8584.


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Education
TPS test scores still far behind state averages

Tulsa Public Schools students continue to lag far behind underwhelming statewide averages in the third year of Oklahoma’s new standardized testing.

The State Department of Education on Friday released district- and state-level results of the Oklahoma School Testing Program assessments for students from third grade through eighth grade.

Oklahoma implemented more rigorous academic standards in 2016-17 after abandoning the controversial Common Core.

Oklahoma student proficiency rates have declined in almost every grade and subject since the baseline year. Third-grade math scored the state’s highest rate, with 43% of students considered proficient or better.

In an email to school districts, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister talked about the impact of the ongoing teacher shortage on student success and stressed the need to have a well-trained, prepared teacher in every classroom.

“There are no shortcuts to success,” Hofmeister said. “Moving the needle on state assessments will require long-term investments of time and energy on the part of each of us.”

TPS results showed a decrease in most grade levels for English language arts proficiency, though third grade improved 3 percentage points. Math and science proficiency rates slightly improved or remained steady across most grade levels.

Tulsa students performed much lower than the statewide average, trailing by double digits in every subject and grade.

The district’s highest overall score was eighth-grade science, with 26% of students proficient or better, compared to 40% at the state level.

Eighth-grade math had the lowest score in Tulsa and statewide. Only 11% of TPS students and 23% of Oklahoma students were at least proficient.

Fifteen TPS sites, including 11 elementary schools, had at least one grade level with 0% of students demonstrating proficiency in a subject. Three of those schools — Gilcrease, Penn and McLain Junior High — closed this summer.

Emerson Elementary, which became the state’s first public Montessori school last year, was among four TPS sites with 0% proficiency scores in at least four categories. The Montessori program was not implemented in the grades the state tested last school year.

Despite a decrease across most grades at the district level, 26 TPS schools showed some improvement in English language arts. They include Hamilton Elementary, Webster Middle School and Hoover Elementary.

About half of TPS schools — including Eliot, Grimes and Mark Twain elementaries — saw gains in math. Overall math proficiency for third and fifth grades increased 2 percentage points.

“While we are pleased to see the districtwide improvement in math, we know that we have a long way to go to prepare our students for success in college, careers and life,” Superintendent Deborah Gist said in a news release. “We also know that it will take time for all students to achieve proficiency, which is why we also focus on accelerating student growth using our own set of rigorous measures that teachers can use to assess student learning during the year.”

Gist said TPS is working urgently to support teachers and school leaders in boosting student achievement.

In May, the school board approved the superintendent’s reorganization proposal that she says will create a stronger focus on key instructional priorities and provide schools with dedicated academic services.

Based on the district’s internal performance measures, Gist said she expects to see continued academic growth and plans to share more information about this progress during her State of the District presentation in September.


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