Although thousands of local students already returned to class for the new school year, the three largest districts in northeast Oklahoma will open their doors Wednesday.
Wednesday is the first day of school for the Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Union public school districts. Students at Owasso Public Schools return from summer break Thursday.
Some suburban districts, including Jenks and Sand Springs, started the 2019-20 school year Tuesday. Others welcomed kids back Monday and last week.
Parents can expect to see a few major changes from last year within Tulsa Public Schools. The most notable, perhaps, is the expansion of Monroe Demonstration Academy, which has become the destination for all middle-schoolers in north Tulsa’s McLain feeder pattern.
Monroe’s enrollment is estimated to increase from 250 to about 950 students. The expansion resulted in the closure of the McLain 7th Grade Academy, McLain Junior High and Penn Elementary. Additionally, all elementary schools in the feeder pattern no longer serve sixth grade.
Another change affecting the McLain feeder pattern involves the consolidation of Gilcrease Elementary and ECDC-Bunche. The combined school will serve students from prekindergarten through fifth grade under the name John Hope Franklin Elementary.
Tulsa Beyond also will become reality at three TPS high schools. Webster, Hale and Tulsa Learning Academy are launching pilot phases of Tulsa Beyond — the district’s expansive project aimed at re-imaging the high school experience — after design teams spent over a year creating personalized school models for each site.
At Union Public Schools, the new Ellen Ochoa Elementary has doubled in size this year. The partially completed school opened to 500 students in 2017 as a way to reduce crowding at other elementaries.
The district is opening the second half of Ochoa, which was built at 12000 E. 31st St., with its full complement of 1,000 students Wednesday. A redistricting initiative approved in March sent about 270 students from three selected elementary schools — Boevers, Roy Clark and Rosa Parks — to Ochoa.
Meanwhile, the recent cyber attack that targeted Broken Arrow Public Schools’ computer network is not expected to affect students or parents as the year begins, district spokesman Charlie Hannema said.
Hannema confirmed earlier this month the district fell victim to a ransomware attack, which seeks to deny access to computer systems or networks or hold data hostage for ransom. Officials reportedly were not aware of any unauthorized disclosure of student personal data or financial information.
On Tuesday, Hannema said the attack required some technical workarounds but noted there should be no problems on the first day outside of the typical hiccups that districts sometimes experience.
“There’s always a chance for something to go sideways,” he said.