The vision of the Founder and Executive Director, Elsie Urueta Pollock, is to provide a high quality education where ALL scholars are prepared to go to and graduate from college. Guided by this vision and commitment to the East Tulsa community, Mrs. Urueta Pollock submitted a charter school application designed to accomplish that. On September 2, 2014, the Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) school board voted to approve the THA Charter School.
On August 4, 2015, Tulsa Honor Academy Charter School opened its doors for the first time to our founding class of Nerdy Knights. Our mission is to equip all scholars with the academic skills, content knowledge, and ethical character required for college graduation and success. Through the hard work of the dedicated THA staff, scholars, and families, THA has grown, both in size and in academic achievement, to become a top middle school in Oklahoma and the top charter school in Tulsa. Based in East Tulsa, THA’s scholars are selected randomly each year during the lottery process due to the limited number of seats we have available. In the fall of 2018, the THA Middle School reached full enrollment, growing from serving 92 scholars in grade 5 in Year 1, to serving more than 400 scholars in grades 5 through 8 at full enrollment. The growth did not stop there, however.
Given family demand, THA applied for an expansion to the charter school so that we could continue serving scholars through grade 12. We submitted the expansion and the TPS School Board approved it on December 3, 2018. On August 6, 2019, THA opened its doors to the first class of THA freshmen.
On March 12, 2020, THA purchased a facility where the THA High School will permanently be housed. Construction on the facility began in April of 2020 and is nearing Phase I completion.
Today, Tulsa Honor Academy Charter School serves more than 680 scholars in grades 5-10. THA has implemented a slow growth model, which allows a grade level to be added each year as scholars continue their Middle School and High School educations. THA will reach full growth in the 2022-2023 school year, offering grades 5 through 12.
Charter schools are independently-operated public schools that have the freedom to design classrooms that meet their students’ needs. All charter schools operate under a contract with a charter school authorizer or sponsor – usually a nonprofit organization, government agency, or university – that holds them accountable to the high standards outlined in their “charter.” In the state of Oklahoma, charter schools can be authorized by four different types of entities: the local district where the school resides, a state university, a tribe, or a tech school. Tulsa Honor Academy is authorized via the local district, Tulsa Public Schools.
Charter schools are exempt from local operations and management regulations since charters must create their own operations and management guidelines. This management shift makes it so that charter schools can have greater flexibility in school design, ensuring they meet the needs of their scholars. Thus, while charter schools have more autonomy, they exchange that for greater accountability.
However, charter schools must adhere to state and federal regulations related to all public schools — for example, charter schools cannot charge tuition or be affiliated with a religious institution. Charter schools must take all the state and federal assessments and must serve all scholars, including scholars with special needs.
The reasons that parents choose charter schools for their children are just as unique as the students themselves. They choose charter schools because of the strong, dedicated teachers, because the school's focus matches their child’s needs, or simply because their child was struggling in their assigned public school and needed to try something new. Charter schools provide families with options in public education, allowing parents to take a more active role in their child’s education.