Make Positive Staff Changes at Carver Middle School

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Dear Past and Present Carver Parents:

There is an on-going investigation at Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) in reference to the below timeline, regarding the May 11th and 13th volleyball tryouts at Carver Middle School. This timeline is being shared with you, as there are concerns about the abuse of power, an arbitrary racial policy set at Carver that is not mandated by TPS, and finally, specific retaliation against our volunteer volleyball coaches when they voiced their concerns about unethical practices being mandated by the administration. Unfortunately, in this situation, those impacted most are the students.

The following events may possibly have been the final straw… And have brought to light a much broader history of serious parent concerns regarding Deana Holt and her behaviors and performance towards students and parents. Many parents have shared their personal experiences (both verbally and via email) to top TPS administrators, including Gil Cloud and Deborah Gist.  Communications directly with Carver administrators have not yielded results. 

We, as concerned past and present Carver parents, request immediate change.  Deana Holt’s behaviors and communications methods appear to be supported and condoned by the Carver Administration (Dr. Woolridge) as no action has been taken to address parent concerns reported to date. 

These concerns against Deana Holt include:

  • Unethical and inappropriate practices with sports as recently demonstrated with volleyball tryouts
  • Derogatory and demeaning behavior towards students in the classroom and sports program
  • Lack of teacher effectiveness in the classroom negatively impacting student performance
  • Ineffective management of sports programs and communications
  • An environment of intimidation, preventing an open dialogue from either students or parents with Carver administration
  • Poor treatment of parent volunteers, with little collaboration or support 
  • Retaliatory behaviors against parents and students who raise legitimate complaints

 The concerns against Dr. Melissa Woolridge, Principal, include:

  • Lack of engagement with parents and volunteers to resolve concerns
  • Failure to effectively remediate parent concerns that resolve the issue for all parties, demonstrating a one-sided bias
  • Condoning and supporting unethical behaviors by staff (that may also violate TPS policy)
  • Supporting retaliatory behaviors by school personnel

We, the parents of Carver students, are of the opinion that Deana Holt (Carver Athletic Director and Teacher) does not exhibit the behaviors we expect from a TPS employee and has a negative impact on our students’ education and extracurricular sports activities.  As parents, we have legitimate concerns that Dr. Melissa Woolridge, as Carver Principal, is ineffective in working to resolve reported parent concerns and is contributing to a culture at Carver that is negative, demeaning and biased. This is contrary to parent expectations of a TPS Principal.

Petition Objectives:

  1. We demand Deana Holt be removed as an employee at Carver and should be removed from any position interfacing with or guiding performance of TPS students including Teaching and Athletic Director.
  2. We demand Dr. Woolridge be unable to use her position of power to ensure preferential treatment – thereby TAKING the opportunity from those students that have earned their position on a team through hard work and practice.
  3. We demand that Dr. Woolridge mend the damage of distrust and divisiveness she has fostered with parents and take immediate action within the school to address the above parent concerns.


Carver Volleyball Tryouts Timeline – and RETALIATION against volunteer coaches and approved intramural program

April 14th – 7:53am email from Holt to McIntosh
·       Each school will only have one volleyball team made up of 7/8 graders.

April 29th – Coaches Yamashita and McIntosh meet with Gil Cloud, Director of Secondary Schools Student Activities and Athletics of Tulsa Public Schools, and Mick Wilson, Assistant Athletic Director of Tulsa Public Schools
·       Discuss options to keep an expanded volleyball program at Carver (and other TPS junior high schools).
·       Develop outline of requirements for intramural program.

May 2nd – McIntosh sends email to Gil Cloud and Mick Wilson 
·       Outline of proposed intramural requirements for review and approval.

May 4th – 10:56am email from Gil Cloud to Steve McIntosh copying Deana Holt (Carver Athletic Director) and Dr. Woolridge (Carver Principal)
·       Mr. Cloud made 2 additions to the program document.  Stated “This looks fine with me.”  Requires Holt and Woolridge approval.

May 4th – 4:20pm  email from McIntosh to Holt and Wool ridge
·       Overview of program and request for meeting to discuss and gain approval so implementation may proceed.  (Attempted to get in place before tryouts, so ALL girls could be offered a position within volleyball, whether on Carver varsity team or within intramural play.)

May 5th – 4:19pm email from Holt to Coaches
·       “We will not be discussing this Intramural program until the week of May 16th”  (after tryouts)

May 11th – 4:15-6:15pm  Carver Volleyball Tryouts  (8th Grade)
·       Tryout plan and scoresheet developed and approved by Carver prior year. Team selection based on objective point system by multiple coaches, not subjective selection.
·       Neither Holt nor TPS Representative showed up

May 13th – 4:15-6:15pm Carver Volleyball Tryouts (7th Grade)
·       Tryout plan and scoresheet developed and approved by Carver prior year. Team selection based on objective point system by multiple coaches, not subjective selection.
·       Holt stopped in for 2 minutes stating she was stressed, exhausted, and wanted to go home. 
·       Holt – “You guys got this…” and she left.
·       No other TPS Representative showed up

May 14th – 4:13pm email from McIntosh to Holt 
·       Roster of top 15 players by score submitted to Deana Holt

May 15th – 6:07am Deana Holt sends email to McIntosh
·       Note:  VIOLATES TPS POLICY 4408.

May 15th – 4:49pm Deana Holt phone call:
·       Holt - “All those damn Carnegie girls made the team!”
·       Holt - “You don’t have enough black girls on the team!” (Note: Race is not a consideration in coach’s objective point system. Based on performance at tryouts only. An FYI: volleyball roster was more diverse than other current athletic teams at Carver.)
·       Holt - Null and void the tryouts - Redo tryouts so she can pick the girls she prefers for the team, bring in outside coach.
·       Holt - Denied proposal of intramural program at Carver without review or consideration.  (This had Gil Cloud’s approval and we had certified volunteer coaches lined up to support. Also had Tulsa Parks commitment to supplement the program for games)
·       VIOLATES TPS POLICIES 4901, 4902, 4408.

May 15th – 7:04pm Coaches email to Deana Holt and Dr. Woolridge
·       Protested AD’s decision to redo tryouts so that preferred players could be added.
·       Stated that we would reconsider our commitment to coach if they pursued this approach.
·       Requested Dr. Woolridge to engage  
May 15th – 7:53pm Deana Holt email cc Woolridge
·       Holt - “The list of students that were chosen by your point system are not acceptable for a diverse school such as Carver.”
·       Holt will talk to Woolridge regarding our coaching
·       Note: Race is not a criteria in our objective rating system, based on performance only.  Volleyball roster as or more diverse than other sports teams at Carver.  The statement above is discriminatory. VIOLATES TPS POLICY 4901.

May 16th – 7:47am Email from Deana Holt cc Woolridge and Gil Cloud
·       Coaches terminated.
·       Note: We feel this was retaliation because we raised concerns over the preferential and discriminatory approach being considered by Holt and Woolridge for team selection.  We would not participate.
·       VIOLATES TPS POLICIES 4901 and 4902 Anti-Retaliation

May 17th – 8:38am email from Steve and Kirsten to Superintendent and Gil Cloud
·       Expressed our concerns over the events that had just taken place.
·       Requested Meeting.

May 17th – 3:01pm email from Woolridge to Coaches, Holt, Cloud, Schornick
·       Apologized for situation and said all could have been avoided by bringing in outside individuals to perform the tryouts. Implies coach bias. There is also not a past precedent set whereby coaches for a team are not allowed to conduct tryouts; coaches typically conduct their own team tryouts.  
·       Note: Woolridge does not address the concerns raised by coaches that the roster was being manipulated for preferential treatment AFTER tryouts. This situation would not be remedied by bringing in outside coaches.  

May 17th – 9:46pm email from McIntosh reply all to Woolridge
·       Once again, clarified our approach and expressed that her response did not address the issues that led to the current situation.

May 18th – 9:57am  Email from Woolridge reply all to McIntosh
·       Woolridge reiterated her coach bias stance. No response to the concerns raised by coaches.

May 23rd – 10:47am Email from Carver for 2nd tryouts.   
·       Email stated that the “objective of the second session was to ensure the integrity and validity of the selection process…”
·       Note:  Primary concern of coaches was the manipulation of the roster for preferential treatment by Carver Administration after selection as indicated in previous email and discussion with Holt.
May 26th – 6-8pm  Second Volleyball Tryouts for those that attended first tryouts.  
·       Many players did not attend due to vacations or on principle.

June 2nd – 11am  TPS Meeting Coaches with Gil Cloud and Robert Schornick, Instructional Leadership Director of Tulsa Public Schools.
·       Discuss Coaches concerns including clarifying tryout process, preferential treatment by TPS administrators, Roster manipulation, and retaliation against those that speak up.

June 15th – 10am TPS meeting McIntosh with Dr. Pauline Harris, TPS Human Rights Coordinator
·       Focused on alleged policy violations per TPS Policies 4901, 4902, 4408.
·       Coaches shared emails and other documentation.
·       Dr. Harris requested this timeline to aid in her investigation.

June 15th – 2:30pm TPS meeting McIntosh with Dr. Kathy Kathy Seibold, TPS Executive Director of Student and Family Support
·       Shared overview of situation and coaches concerns
·       Shared emails and other documentation
·       Dr. Seibold’s team will be involved in investigating the situation.


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