Tulsa Schools Struggle With Teacher Shortage, Turnover

Channel 8's Kim Jackson asks about the high turnover rate at McLain High School

Tulsa Public Schools is dealing with a shortage of teachers and a high turnover rate at McLain High and Junior High Schools isn't helping.

The district lost 11 teachers at the high school and seven at the junior high. The principal, Trista Harper, resigned from the high school two weeks ago.

McLain High School holds a lot of memories for Juan Cooper, class president of 2012.

"It has never been a good school because nobody gave it a chance," Cooper said. "People write it off. You know; I don't maybe because it is 90-percent black. I don't know what it is, but you know people don't give McLain a chance."

Tulsa Public Schools' head of human capital says she was not surprised by the teachers leaving at this time of year.

"Difficult and challenging schools see a turnover in the twenties and thirties," Talia Shaul said. "It's not a surprise unfortunately."

But it was surprising when the principal resigned after just one year at McLain. Harper had been called a turnaround principal.

"I can't talk about personal reasons, obviously, and I think people make choices of when they want to leave jobs, just like they do anywhere else," Shaul said. "It is unfortunate because I think there is a lot of great work that has been done this year, so what we are doing is building on that foundation."

Tulsa currently needs 100 teachers. View the full list of vacancies.

McLain has a history of hardship, low achievement and even school violence. Now the goal is to find teachers and a leader for the children.

"I love McLain," former Class President Cooper said. "You know it has always been there for me, so the community needs to be there for them, for McLain."

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