OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City Public Schools has launched a new community partnership model called “School Connect.” 

“It takes us all to move the school forward. It takes us all to show our students that we care,” said Chris Gardner, the John Marshall Enterprise Middle School Principal.

The concept is based on a similar program out of Phoenix, Arizona that OKCPS has been closely watching. 

“There are needs that continue to exist, that we need community and partners to say, hey, I’m going to raise my hand and help you with that,” said OKCPS Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel. “We wanted to give this a try because we do have so many community partners that want to help. This is just a streamlined, organized way to do it.” 

It’s an approach designed to target the needs of 33,000 students. 

“It’s a different kind of engagement. That, number one, is strategic and number two is long term and relationship driven,” said Mary Melon-Tully, OKCPS Foundation President and CEO. “Without focus, you’re really just spinning around and not getting anything done… It’s time for community partners to also share in that focus so that we can be part of creating that impact for our students.”

The pilot project is in 13 OKCPS schools so far, including John Marshall where the principal met with community partners Tuesday morning. 

The goal is for School Connect to be rolled out in all schools district-wide. 

“By the time we get to fall of next year, we’ll have you know, hopefully all the kinks worked out and it’ll be a model that works just right for us,” said McDaniel.