Living in Tulsa
Tulsa has developed into a vibrant, modern metro area of nearly 1 million residents. It’s known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere and down to earth attitude of its residents.
Why We Need You
While Tulsa is thriving in many ways, the students City Year serves are faced with many challenges, including transiency and food and housing insecurity. The student population is very diverse with 74% of the student population consisting of American Indian, Asian, African American, Hispanic, and Multiracial students, and there is an increasing number of English Language Learners. Within Tulsa Public Schools, 73% of students are eligible for free and reduced priced lunch. On average, only about half of students are proficient in math, and about half are proficient in reading. Unfortunately, barely half of Tulsa Public School students graduate from high school.
Confounding these educational outcomes is the fact that Oklahoma is among the lowest recipients of federal education funding in the US. The Tulsa Public School system has a teacher shortage, which has often resulted in numerous substitute teachers leading classrooms, and many schools no longer have any support staff, including a lack of nurses, guidance counselors and/or social workers due to significant budget cuts.
How You Can Make a Difference
Given the work to be done in education in Tulsa, City Year’s presence is crucial. AmeriCorps members are filling in tremendous gaps created by last year’s budget cuts. AmeriCorps members plan and facilitate school wide events such as book fairs, school dances, and math and literacy nights. Another major role AmeriCorps members take on is bringing diversity to students – and demonstrating positive collaboration on a diverse team. Students are in awe of AmeriCorps members. They see driven young people who are passionate about education and college access, which are brand new concepts for some students. It is so important to introduce different perspectives and experiences to students to broaden their horizons.
Tulsa is committed to public education and is home to some of the country’s leading philanthropies. In addition to bringing in City Year, Tulsa Public Schools launched an apprentice program to empower individuals to pursue a teaching career in Tulsa. The program includes a full-time placement, a mentor, certification support, and professional development along with a salary instead of the typical daily rate substitutes earn. The apprentice program demonstrates that the district values high quality education and is committed to investing in talent in order to provide students with an excellent education. Further, City Year Tulsa has the backing of all sectors of the community, between key philanthropic players (like the Schusterman Foundation, Kaiser Family Foundation and United Way), and major private sector corporations (including Bank of Oklahoma, and Cox Communications).
Tulsa is in high need for idealistic young people to work with students to help them reach their potential. With a temperate climate, a low cost of living, and a unique culture that blends the Midwest, South and Southwest, many individuals find Tulsa an idyllic place for young professionals to work and live. Organizations throughout Tulsa are committed to investing in and empowering young professionals. The Tulsa Young Professional Network (TYPROS) is one of the most active young professional organizations in the US.
It is impossible to come to Tulsa and not find an area of passion or opportunity to make a true difference in the community and students' lives. Many Tulsa AmeriCorps members come in for one year and end up becoming a long term resident of this vibrant community.