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Partnership Schools

What is a partnership school?

The new term "partnership school" refers to a variety of autonomy-rich school models—whether they are innovative schools of the future or well-established models already within the TPS network.  They embody the expectations and strategies described by the district within its new strategic plan, Destination Excellence, and the district's theory of change.  These schools may include:

  • TPS contract schools—such as Phoenix Rising and Street School—which operate in partnership with the district
  • Schools in which key decisions regarding the direction and management of the school—curriculum, assessment, professional learning, staffing, calendar, bell times and budget—are made by teams of teachers or by a school leader with localized control and flexibilities
  • A school model authorized by state statute (House Bill 1691) - such as Greenwood Leadership Academy at Academy Central - which allows TPS to use outside organizations to provide specified instructional services to TPS students

What are the characteristics of partnership schools?

Though the characteristics of each school will differ, partnership schools must provide exceptional education to students and commit to higher levels of accountability in exchange for increased autonomy.  They are TPS schools that may operate as a stand-alone site or share a school building with a traditional TPS school.  A partnership school could have teachers employed by TPS, and therefore members of the TPS bargaining unit; or teachers could be employed by an outside organization.  Partnership schools complement the TPS-authorized charter schools as well as the traditional schools of the district, which also have growing opportunities for autonomies and flexibilities to more effectively serve their communities and students' needs.
Partnership schools are—and will be—unique by virtue of their design and autonomies, but all will embrace broad stakeholder engagement.  Their work will bring transformational change to the entire district by identifying, sharing and facilitating the implementation of innovative and best-in-class policies and practices.

How does one start a partnership school?

  • Learn more about the opportunities, school model options, timelines and the relevant requirements by attending an information session (held annually and as demand requires) or by contacting Mark Modrcin at Tulsa Public Schools:  918‑746‑6580 or
  • Determine the school model that aligns best with your team's vision, strengths, experience and limitations. 
  • Submit your team's paperwork (letter of intent, application, etc.) by the relevant deadline. 
  • Cross-functional teams at TPS will review applications within approximately 120 days of submission and provide a formal recommendation to the Superintendent and the Board of Education.  TPS will make every effort to inform applicants of their proposal's status no later than December 1 of the year prior to the schools proposed opening.

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