Someone had provided a link to the South Shore parent newsletter where the principal discusses some issues with the SAP. It was interesting; here are a few excerpts:
Question: What does this plan mean to us as an OPTION SCHOOL?
A: Students can apply from all over the district upsetting the ethnic, language and socioeconomic balance we have worked so hard to attain. We want to keep our current demographics and need to be vocal about it. Ways to be heard: Comment Cards, board meetings, Getting involved in Political Advocacy Committee.
(Join the club. Many school communities, with the new SAP, will find their diversity changed. I recall that Roosevelt students came down to a Board meeting in large numbers about 5 years ago complaining that changing the SAP would change the diversity there. TOPS was very worried during school closures that their diversity would change under a new SAP. It's an issue for many schools but I don't think it's an argument for one school.)
Question: How will this impact our class size?
A: We currently buy-down classroom size. Class sizes are increasing because the union agreement reports that a teacher can take up to 28 kids in the classroom. This union agreement supersedes the Agreement of Understanding between the foundation and district. There is nothing we can do about the class size. The NS foundation is most interested in keeping class rooms small in the pre-k-3 grade bands and duplicating this model nationally.
(Not sure if they bought down class size via the school budget, New School money or PTA. I think the issue is they have a big new building - sized at about 750 for Pre-K-8 or 1,000 for middle school - and a good program so naturally people want in. Remember our thread on class size? Apparently the New School Foundation thinks class size matters AND they want to spread the word nationally. Hello Dr. Goodloe-Johnson!)
Question: How do we get our Title 1 status back?
A: 50% free-reduced lunch rate. We were at 42% last year. We believe we are higher this year but do not yet know current rate. Important to have families to fill out form if they even think they may qualify.
What I did want to point out in the South Shore newsletter is something the principal said because other principals may be saying this as well:
"School Board Vote on 11/18 on the new assignment maps only. Whole plan to be voted on in January. "
I was confused because I know the general outlines of the SAP have been voted in. The vote on November 18th is to settle the boundaries. But vote the whole plan? I called the Board office and what the principal said was in error.
The SAP plan will be done November 18th as a plan. The next step is for the Board to direct the Superintendent to craft the transition plan. I'd like to think we'd see it by mid-December but maybe it won't see the light of day until early January. Then there will probably be a couple of public meetings on it and then a vote by the Board to accept it in mid-January. So if you hear of other votes for the SAP after November 18th, they are probably talking about the transition plan.
Also to keep in mind: by tomorrow night we will likely know who the newly-elected (or re-elected) Board members are. They are to take their oath on Dec. 2 at a Special Board meeting just for their installation. So those new people will be the ones to lobby for the transition plan. If you have ideas about what that transition plan should be, then get on it as soon as you know who the new Board directors are.