Middle school enrollment questions
This section contains general or other questions from families that may not fall under one specific category.
Can you speak about the timing of this decision? I have been following the feeder committee for the past year, and I agree with the mission. However, I am not confident that the necessary changes will be able to be made to staffing, transportation, programming, etc., in time for the next school year. These are massive changes, and even if a decision is made next month, I can 't imagine you being ready in time. My fifth-grader has no idea where he will be going to school in a few months and it is distressing to him. Traditionally, there have been middle school open houses and visits in the spring. I would like my child to be able to visit his middle school while school is in session, and not be rushed through an orientation over the summer. I urge you to consider delaying the feeder pattern change at least one year. I would rather have my younger child attend a different school down the line than have my current fifth-grader rushed into something. Take the time to roll this out well, instead of just quickly. It took years to make the decision, so how can it only take a few weeks to implement?
Historically, as enrollment changes and the delivery of academic programming needs change, the district will adjust staffing as needed and coordinate moves accordingly.
This is a process in which we are well-versed. Our CDTA tripper transportation patterns already cover nearly all of the city and will require relatively minor adjustments and potentially additions depending on the distribution of the final feeder pattern the Board of Education selects.
These logistics are an annual part of our partnership with CDTA and we already are in discussions with them about services that will be needed for our new enrollment patterns, particularly at North Albany Middle School with the increase in enrollment that that school will experience.
We will hold orientation meetings (on site) for students and families at each middle school this spring, and transition camps for our students in the summer to help all get acclimated to the transition, whether students will be moving up to the assigned middle school or to a new middle school based on the new feeder pattern.
It is very important to the district to allow students the opportunity to get to know their middle school to make this important academic transition as comfortable as possible.
If there are only a few parents remaining on the committee because a bunch dropped out, why weren’t more asked to join? Every school should really be represented.
We started this work in the summer with a parent representative from every district school serving on the committee. Many participated in the committee’s initial meetings in July and August. Following the brief hiatus for the start of the school year, participation declined when the committee resumed its work in October. The committee quickly delved deeply into analytics and began moving toward development of potential scenarios. Once the committee’s work reached a certain level of detail, it would have been too difficult for new members to join in having missed such a significant amount of the work. All of the original committee members were kept informed of the process and all developments throughout October, November and December.
Has there been consideration given to the idea that well-resourced families may leave the district if their children are fed to a far-away school?
Like the decision to move the Dual Language Program last year, this process is being so rushed that no meaningful community input can be factored into the decision. It is premature for the Board of Education to plan a vote on this issue as early as March. Why does the BOE think this is an appropriate time frame? Why is the survey being released to families after favored options have already been selected?
Nearly 450 people responded to a survey on this topic conducted in November to gain initial feedback and qualitative input to help inform the decision-making process.
At this time, in addition to again getting qualitative feedback in the current survey, the Board of Education wanted to get feedback and input specific to the eight proposed scenarios that have been developed with our feedback gathered to date in mind.
The board is looking to make a decision this winter to allow the district and families sufficient time to plan. That includes holding spring and summer open houses and orientations for students and families, and planning staffing, transportation and other important logistics.
When does the board expect to have a decision about what the new feeder pattern will be?
The board anticipates a decision in March. There are two regularly scheduled board meetings on the calendar that month – March 3 and March 17. Both meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 75 Watervliet Ave. The board meetings also are livestreamed via YouTube.
At least 10% of our district families speak a language other than English at home. How will you provide these families a voice in this important change? Please ensure ALL families have a voice, don’t just listen to the loudest voices.
We will have translators in our top five languages at our in-person community forums Feb. 28 (Arbor Hill Elementary School) and March 1 (Giffen Memorial Elementary School). We also will have translated paper versions of our current feeder alignment survey available at both meetings. All text on our website is translatable into nearly 100 languages using the Google Translate tool. All SchoolMessenger email communications from the district also are translated into 30 languages.
Is this already a done deal and this forum is just procedural?
This is not a “done deal.” No determinations have been made at this point beyond the selection of the eight current proposed scenarios. The feedback from parents and guardians – including through the virtual meetings held for all elementary schools during the week of Feb. 14, the in-person community meetings on Feb. 28 and March 1, and the online survey – are intended to gather information that the Board of Education will take into consideration as it narrows down potential options and selects a final option for next school year. All input from our families is valued and will be included in the decision-making process.
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