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TPS magnet school to start early in '21-'22
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TPS magnet school to start early in '21-'22

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Citing parent feedback, a Tulsa middle school is adjusting its bell times for the coming school year.

On Tuesday, Tulsa Public Schools confirmed that Thoreau Demonstration Academy will begin and end the school day earlier when classes start on Aug. 19.

Instead of classes starting at 9:15 a.m. on Mondays and Fridays and 8:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, as originally posted on the district’s website, Thoreau’s instructional day will start at 7:30 a.m. five days per week.

However, students who ride the bus to school in the mornings will arrive at the south Tulsa campus by 7 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to participate in the school’s extended day program.

The school offers an optional extended day program as time to provide additional student supports, including clubs, athletic practice and study hall.

Classes will end at 2:30 p.m. five days per week. An additional extended day option will be available through 3:05 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, but parents will be responsible for picking up students who participate in the afternoon extended day.

By comparison, Thoreau dismissed at 4:55 p.m. during the 2020-21 school year. In addition to creating logistical problems for families and teachers with respect to after-school appointments and obligations, the late release time caused safety concerns for bus riders.

“We were more concerned about our past schedule because our students were getting home late. We’re sometimes talking in the dark,” Thoreau Demonstration Academy Principal Audrey Doctor said.

“That was our greater concern rather than getting them early because of the unique programming we offer with our extended day. Students were excited about being part of extended day, but that late getting off the bus time was one of our greatest concerns.”

Featured video: Students head to summer school

Children are active on the playground at Walt Whitman Elementary School on Tuesday, the first day of Tulsa Public Schools' "Ready. Set. Summer!" day-camp style programming.

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My primary beat is public education. I am a third-generation graduate of Oklahoma State University, a board member for Oklahoma SPJ and an active member of the Native American Journalists Association.

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