Francis Tuttle offers a broad range of programs and services in support of developing and maintaining a quality workforce for the region including career training for high school students, courses for adult learners and economic development for business owners.
Dr. Michelle Keylon, Superintendent/CEO of Francis Tuttle, shares about the school, including their new campus in Edmond that has an emphasis on entrepreneurship.
1. What is your educational philosophy and how does that impact the students at Francis Tuttle?
I believe we have a responsibility to educate all students. I also believe that not all students need to be educated the same. I believe we must increase our competence and ability to provide more personalized educational experiences for our students. Students come to us with varying skills, talents, abilities and experiences. They also come to us with different goals. We must be able to bring all these factors together to benefit the student. At Francis Tuttle, we create personalized learning plans for all of our students. Because our programs have a career focus, it is much easier to match a student’s learning goal with our offerings. I also believe this increases student engagement and an overall better educational experience for the student.
2. What has changed in education most since you started? What are the current trends and where is education going?
Trends and where is education going? Technology has changed exponentially since I started. I taught business and computer technology. The first year I taught, we were using computers that started from a 5.25” boot disk. Most people under the age of 45 have no idea what I’m talking about! Now, we have technology built into everything. We are doing school virtually. Artificial intelligence is part of our programs. Cyber security, a program we offer, exists to protect our basic needs such as electricity and water and many other highly sensitive areas of our lives. I could have never imagined how technology would impact our lives. There has been talk in education for many years about students learning virtually. But until recently, there wasn’t an issue significant enough to move the masses. Although I can’t predict the future, I can tell you that I hope education will continue on the path of using technology to personalize education for students. Part of my philosophy of education is that each student comes to us with individual strengths and experiences and we should consider those things when developing their educational plan. We need to provide flexibility that allows students to reach their educational goals and acknowledge there are other factors that impact their education such as prior experiences. If we can get away from the one-size-fits all approach and move to a personalized education style, I believe our students will be more engaged and more successful.
3. How is Francis Tuttle meeting the current needs of your students and families?
During this pandemic specifically, we are allowing for maximum flexibility. We will support students in the classroom and online. It is their choice. We have significant safety measures in place at the school but we also understand, before students can learn they must feel safe. If that means they learn from home for now, we are totally supportive.
4. What makes Francis Tuttle stand out among all the educational choices parents have?
I believe our reputation for high-quality education and experiences set us apart from other educational choices. We have been a district since 1979. Part of our culture is innovation and creativity. We understand people have choices. We have worked over the years to ensure our place as a leader in Career and Technical education. We have accomplished this by adding new programs as needed by our community. We have closed programs that no longer are needed. We focus on the experience of the students first and foremost. We want them to be completely engaged and gain a sense of confidence, self-worth and belonging. We want them to see Francis Tuttle as their second home. We want their educational experience to be so substantial it turns them into lifelong learners.
5. How do you engage parents/families in your students’ education?
We engage parents in several different ways. We have parent information nights during the spring as well as parent open houses. We have parent enrollment nights. We communicate with them through email and/or phone to provide progress updates for our students. We offer parental access to curriculum and grades through our learning management system, Canvas. We have parent/teacher conferences. We also have several parents serve as guest speakers and many participate in our business advisory committees.
6. What is the most unique educational opportunity offered by Francis Tuttle?
We are currently building a new campus in Edmond. This campus will have a focus of entrepreneurship. There will be an option to focus specifically on entrepreneurship or add entrepreneurship curriculum to other programs. For example, if a cosmetology student wants to open their own business, we can offer additional curriculum for the student to complete that will prepare them to be a business owner. This new campus will also have a business incubator, a pre-accelerator program, a product realization lab and several design thinking studios. This campus will also support problem solving across disciplines. This might include a Biosciences and Medicine Academy student working with an Engineering Academy student to solve a problem. We believe the focus of entrepreneurship and collaboration at this new campus will allow us to innovate the way we educate our students. The campus opens in August of 2021.