Union Public Schools

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Union Public Schools
8506 East 61st Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133

United States
District information
Type Public, Independent
Grades PK - 12
Established 1919
Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler
Budget $86,013,694
Students and staff
Students 14,658
Staff 894
Other information
Website www.unionps.org

Union Public Schools is a public school district located in southeast Tulsa, and northwest Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The school district is the eleventh largest in Oklahoma. Union is notable among school districts in the area because Union does not encompass a particular city. Instead, many of its patrons believe Union is a unifying organization within the community, providing activities for its families, a sense of pride, support and identity for its patrons.[1]

Union Public Schools observes a nine-month calendar school year, beginning in mid-August and ending in May. However, the school offers a number of summer programs including traditional summer school classes, driver's education, enrichment classes, and adult education classes. In addition, the district offers an Extended Day Program which provides adult-supervised care for elementary students before and after school, on certain holidays or when the school is closed for professional development days as well as during the summer.[2] Union Public Schools offers a gamut of courses in their secondary curriculum to accommodate both college-bound and non-college-bound students. Options among these courses are Advanced Placement (AP), and concurrent enrollment. These options enable students to earn college credit while fulfilling high school requirements. Students interested in careers or courses in vocational areas are transported to one of the Tulsa Technology Center campuses for the curriculum they desire.

In 2009, Union implemented a new program called the Union Collegiate Academy, in which selected seniors may participate in classes led by instructors from area colleges - including OU-Tulsa, OSU-Tulsa, Tulsa Community College, Northeastern State University, Tulsa Technology Center, University of Tulsa, and Oral Roberts University. The class addresses a myriad of topics such as college selection and scholarship research, project-based learning, professional dress and etiquette, and public relations and leadership skills introducing students to different academic disciplines.[3]

The district also a community education program which serves as the “umbrella” for a variety of programs offered in the Green Country area including Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Muskogee. These programs include adult classes funded by the Oklahoma State Department of Education and community programs for both adults and children. Some programs are offered at no cost, others at a nominal fee.

Union also offers a host of parent organizations and the Union Public Schools Education Foundation which funds innovative teaching projects to reward and reinforce excellence. Its Board of Education consists of five members elected by district zones for five-year terms.


Union began with its formation in 1919 when four rural communities – Alsuma, Boles, Mayo and McCollough – consolidated.[4] The school's first graduating class consisted of just four students, and all classes (K-12) were housed in a two-story brick building.[citation needed] Beginning in the 1980s, Tulsa's residential and commercial population boomed, and its population grew with it. Today, Union Public Schools serves more than 14,600 students in its 19 schools, including an Early Childhood Center. All 19 schools have State Department of Education and North Central Association accreditation.[4]


Union Public Schools comprises 19 schools.

Elementary schools[edit]

Union Public Schools has 13 elementary school sites and one Early Childhood Center, which serves 3-year-old students:

  • Andersen Elementary, built in 1984 and named after Hans M. Andersen, an early land owner and dairy farmer who provided the district with free water before it was available from the city.
  • Boevers Elementary, built in 1975 and named after George F. Boevers, a 35-year veteran of the district. Their mascot is Boever Bobcats. It also has a choir, named the Boevers Boppers.
  • Briarglen Elementary opened in 1970 and named after the housing edition in which it was built.
  • Cedar Ridge Elementary, completed in 1995 and named after the area in which it was built.
  • Clark Elementary, built in 1977 and named for musician and entertainer Roy Clark. The school mascot is Clark Cowboys. It also has its own choir, the "SparkleTones".
  • Darnaby Elementary, named after James R. Darnaby, opened in January 1980, after its students were temporarily housed in a wing of the Tulsa Public Schools. Their mascot is known as the Darnaby Rangers.
  • Grove Elementary, opened in 1975, and named after Robert B. Grove, a science teacher and basketball coach who had served with Union since 1945. He was Union's superintendent from 1960 to 1975.The school mascot is Grove Eagles. It also has its own choir, "Eagleaires"
  • Jarman Elementary, opened on August 21, 1991, named after Wesley V. Jarman, a former superintendent who served with the district from 1975 to 1990. Its slogan is "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success". The students are known as the Patriots.
  • Jefferson Elementary, named for the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, and opened in the 2008-2009 school year. Students are known as the Jefferson Explorers.
  • McAuliffe Elementary, built in 1988 and named in honor of teacher Christa McAuliffe, who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger accident. The school's motto is "We challenge the future", and students are called "Challengers".
  • Moore Elementary, opened in the fall of 2000, and named for one of the district's first board members, Marshall T. Moore
  • Peters Elementary, opened in 1978, and named after Tom W. Peters, the founder of Oklahoma Greenhouses who served on the Union board of education for 16 years. Peters is home of the Panthers.
  • Rosa Parks Elementary which is named for the famous civil rights activist, Rosa Parks, opened in 2006.
  • Rosa Parks Early Childhood Center, in cooperation with the Tulsa Community Action Project, opened in 2007. it serves 3-year-old children. The center is considered as a separate school.[5]

Secondary schools[edit]

Union Public Schools has five secondary schools, including an alternative school:

  • Union 6th/7th Grade Center is located on 61st street. The first phase of the school, the Union Seventh Grade Center, was completed in 1993. The Sixth Grade Center was finished the following year. The school serves both sixth and seventh graders. Both grades are divided into "teams" or "pods" (sixth and seventh grade teams are named after colleges) to make them feel more at home and less intimidated by the large size of the school. Each team consists of a core group of teachers and 140 students.
  • Union Eighth Grade Center (former 7th Grade Center and originally built as Union Junior High) is designed to ease the transition between middle school and high school. Is currently out of construction, with brand-new hallways, media center, an extension to the commons, and a new science department.
  • The Union 9th Grade Center, built in 1989, houses ninth graders. It was originally designated as Union Junior High, which would house the eighth and ninth graders. In 1993, the district's secondary configuration changed, and the building was renamed to its other previous name, the intermediate high school. One of its features is the Ropes Course, which is recognized as one of the most well-equipped courses in the state[citation needed]. The 9th Grade Center also offers an optional driver's education course free of charge to be taken as an elective with students' core courses. this school used to be the intermediate high school which held both 9th and 10th grade but has fairly recently changed to the 9th grade center in 2012.
  • Union Alternative School was created to better meet the needs of Union students who have been unsuccessful in the regular education program. Students from seventh through 12th grades are enrolled in the program housed at 5656 S. 129 E. Ave.
  • Union High School, built in 1972, is known for its arts and athletics programs. Its football team, the Union Redskins, is regarded as one of the best in the nation.

Adult and Community Education[edit]

Community Education serves as the “umbrella” for a variety of programs offered to the community by the Union Public School District. These programs include adult classes around Northeastern Oklahoma funded by the State Department of Education and community programs for both adults and children. Some programs are offered at no cost, others at a nominal fee.[6]

-Adult Basic Education (ABE)-

GED Preparation classes are provided for adults who are no longer attending high school and need basic skills instruction in reading, writing, math, and life skills.

-GED and Career Certification Exams-

Passing the General Educational Development or GED test qualifies adults to receive a high school diploma issued by the State of Oklahoma. Exams for certification in the fields of Health, IT, Education, and more are also available.

-English as a Second Language-

English as a Second Language or ESL classes provide instruction to non-English speaking adults. Students learn communication and assimilation skills in order to be productive citizens.

Student activities[edit]

Union leaders encourage students at each grade level to participate in organized activities whether they are school-sponsored such as Student Council or an organization like Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.[7]

  • Sports
  • Clubs
  • Spirit - Cheer, pom, dance teams
  • Orchestra
  • Concert Band
  • Renegade Regiment Marching Band
  • Drama
  • Choral Groups
  • Go Crew (6th Grade)
  • Student Council and Leadership activities
  • Character Counts - In an effort to encourage the development of moral character in students, Union Public Schools has incorporated the Character Counts! program into its educational curriculum. Developed by the [Josephson Institute of Ethics], the Character Counts! program is based on six core values, or "Pillars of Character": respect, responsibility, fairness, trustworthiness, caring and citizenship.

linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts, 1986-1987[8]

Extra Curricular Activity[edit]

Union's football program has been regarded as among the best in Oklahoma and in the nation. Union has won the 1963, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 state titles.[12][13][14][15] Union's rivalry with nearby Jenks High School has been named by numerous news sources as one of the top high school football rivalries in the nation. Either Union or Jenks has won the state 6A championship (the division for Oklahoma's largest high schools) every year since 1996.[16] Games between Union and Jenks are frequently played at the University of Tulsa's Skelly Field at H. A. Chapman Stadium, where the record attendance for this game was over 40,000. A documentary titled King of the Mountain was made about the Jenks-Union rivalry, and it has been covered by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and NFL Films, which covered the 2007 regular season game.

Union's basketball team plays in the 5,662 seat John Q. Hammons Arena at the Union Multipurpose Activity Center. Union has won 2 State boys basketball titles. The first in 2004 and recently in 2012 becoming the first large school class to go undefeated since Norman did it in 1990. Union has also been State Runner-Ups in 1998, 2002, and 2006. Union Lady Redskins won the State title in 2008 capturing their first crown.

Union's band, The Renegade Regiment, has won 12 state championships and been a finalist to Bands of America Nationals 10 times (1981, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2010, 2011, 2014). The Renegade Regiment has also appeared in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade (2002) and The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (2013). Union's Renegade Regiment's Colorguard has not only won multiple state and regional championships, they have been named National Champions from the Bands of America championship several years, including 1986 and 1990. The 1990 show was "Spartacus" and the guard played the role of Spartacus' wife.[17] [5] The guard also competes in the Winter Guard International (WGI) and dominated the late 80's as the Grand Champion, year after year. They placed first at the WGI International Championship in 1985, 1987, 1988, placed 2nd in 1986, and 3rd in 2001. The guard's first winterguard show was in 1982, so this young guard came on the scene and made a historical impact on the sport. One of the best known Union Winterguard shows was the 1987 "Mannequin" show.[6]

In the Fall of 2007, Union's Repertory Theater won first place in the Regional One Act Competition with their performance of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. They later went on to win the State One Act Competition with the same play. In both contests they placed first in the Best Technical Crew award. They continued this trend in the Fall of 2010 with their one-act, The Insanity of Mary Girard. They won first place in Regionals, had 6 out of 10 All-Star Cast Members and won the Technical Crew award. Two weeks later they took home the State One Act Competition trophy along with the State Technical Crew award. They also won First Place the 2012 Regional One Act Competition with their adaption "Flowers for Algernon". They will continue on to the State competition. Union's drama department also puts on an all school musical every year that has been touted by some as being one of the best in the nation.

Union's Varsity Cheerleading squad has won several state and national high school cheerleading championships since 2006. They won 3 National Cheerleading Association national titles from the years 2006-2009 in the super large varsity division. The NCA National High School Championships are held in Dallas, Texas each year. They won NCA's grand national titles in both 2006 and 2007. In 2007, they won the coveted 6A state title in cheerleading which had not been won by Union since 1990. In 2011, Union Varsity Cheer attended the Universal Cheerleading Association's National High School Championship in Orlando, Florida and won the national title in the super varsity division. Both NCA and UCA are the biggest national cheerleading competitions in the United States; however, they each hold their own distinct styles of cheerleading. It is an honor that Union Varsity Cheerleading to have won both major styles of cheerleading. They are on their way to UCA high school nationals again this February.

Union also has an outstanding Vocal Music program. They have won numerous awards and receive superior ratings at almost every contest. Their choirs consist of the Union Avenue Singers, Union Harmony, the High School chorus and the 9th grade girl's chorus. Recently, they have decided to add a Union "Mini-Me" choir that will consist of Freshman and Sophomore girls. This group will form in the 2011-2012 year.

Mascot controversy[edit]

Union's use of the "Redskins" team name has exposed it to some criticism, similar to the controversy faced by other schools using mascots referring to Native Americans. In 1999, Cherokee Nation chief Chad Smith criticized the school's use of the name.[18] In December 2002, the school received a demand from the University of Miami that it stop using a "split-U" logo which Miami claimed was unacceptably similar to the university's trademarked logo. Some Native American groups saw this as an appropriate time to renew their calls for Union to abandon the Redskins name, since it appeared that the school would have to change its uniforms in any event. However, in January 2003, Union settled Miami's claim by agreeing to pay $9,599 per year for the continuing right to use the split-U logo.[19] In November 2003 the school board voted unanimously to keep the "Redskins" name.[20] Since that time the school has maintained its position despite continued protests and proposed legislation intended to change the name.[21] In June 2014, after the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) voted to cancel the six trademarks held by the Washington Redskins of the NFL, the school again stated that it had no intention to change the name, asserting that support for the name within the Union school district remains strong.[22]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°04′29″N 95°52′56″W / 36.07472°N 95.88222°W / 36.07472; -95.88222