Some of the enrollment numbers provided through the P-I education blog are just astonishing.
I have written to Ruth Medsker, the education director for middle schools, about why enrollment at Denny was cut off at 128 and 11 students were put on a waitlist. At that rate, the school would only have 384 students. It now has 629 (210 per grade). Perhaps the numbers were wrong. Perhaps not.
Given the imbalance between Meany and Washington, some action is required. I'm thinking that the best interests of the students and the District would be served if middle school APP moved from Washington to Meany. That would, over time, move about 420 students from Washington to Meany. Meany would still have room for a general education program of either 270 or 360 students. Does anyone have any other ideas? I'm not sure how the District would feel about Meany housing APP and Spectrum with no general education students. It wouldn't provide APP and Spectrum students time with a more academically diverse community and it wouldn't provide space for non-gifted siblings at the school. Spectrum-eligible students at Meany could be served through participation in the school's ALO. I'd like to discuss this idea for a while, refine it, and then I would like to prepare a program placement proposal to effect the change.
I'm also thinking of preparing a program placement proposal to suggest moving the AAA out of their building. I'm thinking it could go into T T Minor. There is sufficient surplus capacity in the Central cluster that any T T Minor student who didn't want to join the African-American Academy could find a seat elsewhere. I will then suggest that the AAA building be the home of a new program: The Option Program II - a K-8 school duplicating The Option Program at Seward (TOPS) in philosophy and implementation. This is also an idea that can be refined through discussion.
I'm not sure how to address the imbalance in the Central cluster where four schools have waitlists and four schools didn't attract enough first choices to form a class. I think it would help if we were to make Lowell a neighborhood school because it would provide general education peers for the Special Edcuation students there, and it would add so much capacity to the cluster that the District could close two schools. If the AAA did move to T T Minor, Lowell could take a lot of the reference area that T T Minor used to have.
Actually, now that I think about it, we can put these two ideas together. What if we create a new TOPS at the AAA, move the AAA to T T Minor, re-purpose Lowell as a neighborhood elementary school, move elementary APP to Meany, make room for the Meany students at Washington by moving middle school APP to Marshall, and put 300 general education students at Marshall with them to create additional middle school space in the northeast? I think the increase in elementary capacity in the central cluster, along with the surplus capacity already there, would allow the District to close one of those elementary schools.
Does that sound like a good proposal?