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Community Schools at Union

Community Schools Initiative

Community School is both a place and a network of supportive partnerships between the school and the community.

Union’s Community Schools approach to education seeks to equalize the playing field for all students through a comprehensive, four-pronged approach, providing layered supports for children and families:  Expanded Learning Time, Collaborative Learning Practices, Family and Engagement Practices, and Integrated Student Services

Union Public Schools is committed to strengthening children, families, and communities. Eight Full-Service Community Schools at Union serve as hubs for programs that include expanded learning opportunities, family engagement, and a variety of social services.  These eight schools offer a robust menu of resources and programs to meet the needs of our students and families including Baby Book Club, After-School Programs, Family Events, Holiday Assistance, School-Based Counseling, etc. 

From preschool through graduation, Community Schools support student growth and achievement while also creating strong ties among families, students, schools, and communities.  Doing so will help ensure 100% of our students graduate college and career ready.

Four Pillars

Core components of a community school

  • Positive early childhood care and development 
  • Health / health education
  • Mental health / social services 
  • Family / community engagement 
  • Youth development / out-of-school time 
  • Neighborhood development 
  • Lifelong learning

For further information visit:


The Community Schools initiative is supported by a variety of generous community partners, foundations, and grants.


In the early 2000s, Union began to see an increase in students who needed more support than a traditional school district could provide. The district responded to the changing needs of the student population by addressing challenges such food insecurity, lack of access to health care, and inequitable distribution of community resources through the implementation of the research-based Community Schools model.  

In 2005, Union began laying the foundation for the creation of multiple community schools in an effort to bring in community partners for greater equity at schools with higher levels of poverty.  In partnership with University of Oklahoma, a school-based health clinic was established at Clark Elementary, and later at Rosa Parks Elementary. YMCA became a district partner to provide students with enrichment and tutoring during after-school programs.  Family & Children Services also became a valuable partner to help address the mental health needs of students.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Health Service Commission (MHSC) and other community leaders in Tulsa were looking at ways to support students and families, and made educational improvement as one of its priorities.  After much research and a visit to the National Community Schools Conference in 2006, MHSC and Community Service Council created the Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiative (TACSI).  TACSI, supported by Community Service Council, fundraised, organized, and supported the Community Schools philosophy at Union Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools.  Community School Coordinators were placed in selected schools, as identified by the district with highest percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch, to coordinate programming and partnerships.

In 2011, Roy Clark Elementary was one of three national winners of the Community Schools for Excellence Award by the Coalition for Community Schools. They were honored with a $1,000 prize for being exemplars in their communities, demonstrating strong results by creating optimal conditions for student academic success through strong community partnerships.

In 2013, Community Schools became part of the district’s strategic plan, and approved by the school board as one of the district’s four key areas of focus.  Today, there are eight Full-Service Community Schools at Union:  Boevers Elementary, Clark Elementary, Grove Elementary, Jarman Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, McAuliffe Elementary, Ochoa Elementary, and Rosa Parks Elementary.  

Union offered health clinics at Rosa Parks and Roy Clark Elementary Schools until they were closed by OU Physicians in May 2019.  However, a new school-based health clinic was established at Rosa Parks through Community Health Connection, a full-service family practice clinic offering a broad array of services, including dental, prenatal, women's health, pediatrics, family medicine and behavioral health services and a full-service pharmacy.  

Union’s commitment to the Community Schools philosophy, in partnership with funders and community partners, helps create an environment where children have access to high-quality experiences.  These experiences improve student success and promote a healthy lifestyle and the opportunity to build relationships with caring peers and adults, who become a part of the student’s support system.  

How You Can Help

How You Can Help


Kulsum Siddiqui
Kulsum Siddiqui
District Community Schools Coordinator

Community Liaisons/Principals

Linda Stevenson
Roy Clark

Mindi Bisdee

Kayla Bilby-West

Emma Thadani
Ellen Ochoa

Scott McCrary

Danielle Brinlee
Rosa Parks 

Daisy Pokhrel-Duran

District Announcement

Happy Holidays

Wishing you Joy and Peace at the Holidays and throughout the New Year.

Union Public Schools will be closed for winter break December 23-January 3, 2020. School will resume on Monday, January 6, 2020.

During the winter break, Union offices will be closed December 24-January 2, 2020.

May Joy and Peace be yours throughout the New Year.

Wishing you Joy and Peace at the Holidays and throughout the New Year.  Union Public Schools will be closed for winter break December 23-January 3, 2020. School will resume on Monday, January 6, 2020.  During the winter break, Union offices will be closed December 24-January 2, 2020.  May Joy and Peace be yours throughout the New Year.

Administrative Changes Announced

Scott Pennington named director of new Hope – Guidance – Social and Emotional Learning Department;   Clayton Hucke named interim 7th Grade Principal

Dear Union Parents and Guardians: 

I am excited to announce that Mr. Scott Pennington, principal at the Union 6th & 7th Grade Center, has been asked to lead a new department within Teaching and Learning entitled Hope – Guidance – Social and Emotional Learning. As you know, we are in the second year of our five-year district strategic plan. One of the elements of this plan is Union’s Learning Model that focuses on literacy, cognitive capacity, engagement, and social and emotional learning.

As we continuously evaluate our data, and hear from teachers and our site leaders, there continues to be a dominant narrative that more must be done to address the social and emotional development of our students. Collectively speaking, our teachers continue to do amazing work in providing dynamic learning experiences for our students. It is now time for us to articulate a tiered approach to addressing unwanted student behaviors and student trauma – at all grade levels – while also fostering greater hope and confidence in our students’ lives. The idea is that we will be more proactive in our efforts, providing counseling and guidance to address the social, emotional, and academic needs of our students. I firmly believe this will make a positive difference in our students’ lives and in the learning culture of our buildings.

Mr. Pennington’s work as a special education teacher, assistant principal, and principal make him uniquely qualified to lead in this new position. In addition to this change, I am also pleased to announce that Mr. Clay Hucke, assistant principal at Union High School, has been asked to serve as an interim principal at the Sixth & Seventh Grade Center. Mr. Hucke has done an outstanding job at the high school and he looks forward to serving the students, staff, and parents at this site.

Please join me in congratulating Mr. Pennington and Mr. Hucke. These moves will become effective January 1, 2020.


Kirt Hartzler, Ed.D.
Union Public Schools

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Contact Information

Union Public Schools
8506 E. 61st Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133
Phone: 918-357-4321

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