Monday, December 6, 2010

Dr. Conti Discusses Re-districting Plans

Dr. Conti attended the Principal’s Coffee last Monday evening, November 29, to explain how things are progressing regarding the re-districting plans. He reviewed the School Committee’s guiding principles along with the timeline. The plan is to reassign about 140 or so students across the entire district to the new Memorial School. Every school will be affected to some degree. He expects FrancisWymanSchool to potentially lose about 60 students. At this point, he is working on determining the district line changes through the use of a computer program that identifies where each student lives. This allows him to explore many different options with relative ease. He expects a first draft of the new district lines to be shared with parents in a week or two. Once this first draft is released, the upcoming months will provide an opportunity for parents to give feedback. He expects that there will be families who have individual concerns or problematic situations. Clearly, not every concern will be easily fixed, but he is committed to working together with families. Students who will be entering grade 5 next year will be allowed to stay in their current schools if desired, however parents would need to provide their own transportation. For families who would like their grade 5 child to remain at a school but who also have children in lower grades, the parents may write a letter to Dr. Conti requesting that the younger sibling(s) also be allowed to stay at the school. The current policy allows parents to request out of district placements and these requests are approved based on the class size parameters. Below are the list of guiding principles and a timeline for the process. Please be aware that some families at Francis Wyman will be affected and that more information will be forthcoming in the near future.

Proposed Re-districting Time Line

November/December 2010

Present proposal to each elementary school and provide opportunity for feedback and comments.
January 2011

Make adjustments

March 2011

Approve new enrollment zones and transition plan

Elementary Redistricting Principles

1. Assign a student capacity to each elementary school – approximately 80-85%.

2. Redistricting to impact all four elementary schools equally – neighborhoods will not be reassigned solely due to the need for additional specialist staff.

3. As much as practicable, assign neighborhoods to the same elementary school.

4. If practical, students will not ride on school bus past an elementary school to reach a home elementary school.

5. All four elementary schools will have programmatic equality for all students.

6. To the extent possible, equally distribute apartment complexes between the four schools.

7. Research new housing developments approved by the Town and assign them to an elementary school.

8. Allow students who will be in grade 5 in September 2011 the option to remain in their home school for one year with parents responsible for providing transportation. If this opportunity is exercised, the request must be submitted to the Superintendent by (date TBD).

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