Tulsa: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The largest public school system in the state of Oklahoma, the Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) system has received national acclaim for its voluntary desegregation plan, which includes magnet schools and open-transfer. Tulsa Public Schools offers a wide range of curriculum to students living in a 172.78 square mile radius, spread throughout Tulsa, Wagoner, Osage and Creek counties. More than 80 percent of students reside inside Tulsa city limits. Approximately 39 percent of TPS teachers have advanced degrees and 47 percent have more than 10 years of experience. Overall the state of Oklahoma teachers rank in the top 10 in certification and top 5 in No Child Left Behind requirements; the state ranks 4th in classroom internet connectivity. TPS owns its own fiber optic network. In addition to the district's 81 schools, a number of special and alternative programs are also in operation, such as the Street School, Project 12, Margaret Hudson and Franklin Youth Academy. Tulsa County Area Vocational-Technical Schools, recognized as one of the leading model programs in the nation, offers more than 200 subject areas for approximately 3,000 high school students and more than 15,000 adults.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Tulsa Public Schools as of the 2004–2005 school year.

Total enrollment: 43,029

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 57

junior high/middle schools: 15

senior high schools: 9

Student/teacher ratio: 16:1

Teacher salaries

average: $43,810

Funding per pupil: $7,322 (2003)

There are more than 20 private religious schools or secular secondary and elementary schools in greater Tulsa.

Public Schools Information: Tulsa Public Schools, PO Box 470208, Tulsa, OK 74147; telephone (918)746-6298

Colleges and Universities

Metropolitan Tulsa has five major state and several private institutions of higher learning. Public institutions include Oklahoma State University at Tulsa (enrollment 2,600), the University of Oklahoma at Tulsa, Oklahoma City University at Tulsa, Rogers State University (enrollment 3,600), and Tulsa Community College (enrollment 22,866).

Tulsa's three private universities are the University of Tulsa (enrollment 4,072), Oral Roberts University (enrollment 5,700), and Oklahoma Wesleyan University (enrollment 799). The University of Tulsa, the state's oldest private university, was founded as a school for Indian girls. Today it offers programs through the doctoral level to its more than 4,200 students. The most popular recent majors are liberal arts/general studies, elementary education, and nursing. Oral Roberts University is a Christian-centered liberal arts college, education students from 50 states and more than 50 countries in 138 areas of study, including business administration/commerce/management, telecommunications, and elementary education. Southern Nazarene is another private institution that offers undergraduate and graduate programs for business people who can only attend classes in the evening.

The renowned Spartan School of Aeronautics, one of the oldest continually operating aviation schools in the world, has graduated more than 80,000 in its 75 years of education in the fields of aviation maintenance technology, avionics technology, communications technology, quality control, and aviation. Other kinds of specialized education and training are available at the Tulsa Technology Center, which trains high school juniors and seniors as well as adults. Students in Tulsa also attend several business and trade schools.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Tulsa City-County Library has a Central Library, four regional libraries, and 19 branches. Approximately 308,000 cardholders check out more than 3.7 million volumes annually. In addition to its permanent collection of 1.7 million volumes and 2,600 periodical subscriptions, the library houses government documents, maps, art reproductions, and audio/videotapes, plus talking and large-print books. Special collections include the Land Office Survey Map Collection and the Shakespeare Collection. The Library's American Indian Resource Center provides cultural, educational, and informational resources, and activities and services honoring American Indian heritage, arts, and achievements. The center provides access to more than 7,000 books and media for adults and children by and about American Indians, including historical and rare materials, new releases, videos and music compact discs. Subjects include American Indian languages, art, culture, fiction, genealogy, history, and religion. In 2005 the Center held its American Indian Festival of Words. Among the special collections at the Thomas Gilgrease Institute of American History and Art Library are Hispanic documents from the period 1500–1800 and the papers of Cherokee Chief John Ross and Choctaw Chief Peter Pitchlynn. Tulsa has 27 other libraries offering reference materials on a wide range of topics, many having to do with petroleum. Research centers affiliated with the University of Tulsa conduct projects in such fields as women's literature and petroleum engineering, while a center affiliated with Oral Roberts University researches the Holy Spirit, among other topics.

Public Library Information: Tulsa City-County Library, 400 Civic Center, Tulsa, OK 74103; telephone (918)596-7977