Freshman sixth-grader Fosta Walter is a little nervous about starting at Monroe Demonstration Academy this fall.
Despite triple-digit heat, Fosta, his older brother, Kenter, and their mother were among more than 30 families from Monroe Demonstration Academy and McLain High School who traveled to O’Brien Park on Tuesday afternoon for free hot dogs, chilled bottled water, school supplies, uniform shirts, registration assistance, and the opportunity to register for extracurricular activities before classes start on August 18.
The prospect of making new friends is daunting, Fosta said, although seeing a familiar face at O’Brien Park on Tuesday afternoon gave her some relief.
Similar events for both schools are scheduled for 4-6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Springdale Park and Thursday at BC Franklin Park.
Even with the heat, Monday’s home-and-away event at Chamberlain Park drew more than 50 students, Monroe principal Rob Kaiser said, noting more than 150 students are expected for the four events.
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“Over the past four years, we’ve really tried to get into the neighborhood and bring the school into our community,” he said. “We know it’s valuable. We want to serve our community and bring the school to our families, so our families don’t always have to come to us.
At least for now, Monroe and McLain staff are focusing their outreach efforts on events like Tuesday’s, though Kaiser said other routes aren’t off the table if needed in order to reach more people. families in North Tulsa.
In previous years, Kaiser and other McLain food model school leaders have gone door-to-door in an effort to reach families, including holding office hours at the sites of the Tulsa Housing Authority while the district was on remote learning due to COVID-19.
Those outreach efforts paid off, said Monroe assistant manager Dana Macon.
“When we have something going on at school, when we call the parents, they often say, ‘Oh, I remember you. I met you over the summer,” she said. “That makes it great. We build those relationships.