Senator Earl Garrison and Representative Barbara Staggs announced today that Tahlequah and Muskogee Schools are making room for the children of the evacuees from hurricane ravaged Gulf Coast area.
The plan announced by the two Muskogee Democrats also includes educational opportunities for pre-school children and adults seeking job training or a high school equivalency diploma.
“These people have lost their homes and everything they owned. We want to make sure their children aren’t forced to lose their chance for an education, as well,” said Garrison, the retired superintendent of Indian Capital Technology Center. “These families will literally have to start their lives all over again. We want to make sure they have all the educational tools necessary to be successful as they begin this daunting task.”
Approximately 3,000 evacuees are expected to be transferred from the Gulf region to Camp Gruber southeast of Muskogee near Braggs. As of Tuesday, an estimated 1,500 evacuees had arrived, including 280 children.
Garrison and Skaggs joined forces over the weekend in working with the superintendents to come up with a plan to make sure the children of the evacuees would be able to get back into school in a timely fashion.
“This just goes to show you what can happen when everyone is willing to work together. Oklahomans are the most generous people in the world and the way these communities have welcomed these evacuees with open arms is genuinely amazing,” said Staggs, herself a retired educator.
The plan developed by the lawmakers and school leaders calls for high school students to attend classes in Tahlequah with middle school and elementary school age children going to school in Muskogee.
Green Country Head Start in Muskogee will offer preschool education for 3- and 4-year-olds. Young adults seeking job training will be offered classes at Indian Capital Technology Center and those evacuees seeking to earn a GED can do through Northeastern Oklahoma State University at Camp Gruber.