Tulsa’s Youth Need Foundation of Support
By DEWEY F. BARTLETT, JR.
Mayor of Tulsa
INVESTING IN YOUTH: Emerson Elementary Principal Tammy States, right, Social Service Specialist Heidi Mayer and an Emerson 3rd-grade student look forward to a positive learning experience that will lead to success in school, resulting in becoming well-educated, confident and productive citizens.
Courtesy City of Tulsa
Every young person needs and deserves to have a caring, supportive adult in his or her life. Here in Tulsa, our dropout rate is too high, which impacts crime and our city’s economic health. My administration is dedicated to helping Tulsa’s youth by making sure they have a solid foundation of support that will help them succeed in school and become well-educated, confident and productive citizens.
The mayor’s office spearheads a communitywide public awareness program – the Mayor’s Mentoring to the Max – which is dedicated to attracting caring adults to be involved in children’s lives. This is important to Tulsa’s future: mentoring has been proven to reduce crime, help kids miss fewer days of school and improve their grades. It helps prepare young people for the future by building character, boosting their self-confidence, lifting expectations, and expanding their universe.
This is why I am pleased to announce the City of Tulsa will be leading by example and adopting Emerson Elementary, which is just a stone’s throw away from City Hall. More than 300 students are enrolled at Emerson with the majority being African American. The free/reduced lunch plan has 95 percent student participation. The school’s attendance rate is 94 percent.
Our city employees possess a variety of talents and skills that can be shared with these students who are hungry for learning. We’ll be asking department heads, Leadership U graduates, supervisors and additional city employees to make a commitment to spend their lunch hour with Emerson students on a weekly basis.
Emerson Elementary is an Accelerated Reader School. Students take quizzes on books they read, and everyone who passes the Accelerated Reader Quiz earns points toward Book Bucks. Students can purchase a variety of items ranging from school supplies to a Thunder basketball with their Book Bucks. One child even saved up for an entire year and redeemed his Book Bucks for a new pair of skates!
I’m looking forward to this exciting partnership with Emerson Elementary, especially as it’s celebrating its 100th anniversary. Principal Tammy States has served at Emerson for nine years and is excited and enthusiastic about this great partnership that has the potential to change the lives of her young students.
I encourage other businesses and organizations to join us in adopting a school and making a difference in the lives of our children. Investing in a child’s future is a priceless investment in Tulsa’s future.