There are three options:
- Creation of a sixth grade academy
- Creation of a new Jane Addams Middle School with changes to Hamilton and Eckstein attendance areas and boundaries (note: this option does not mention co-location with JA K-8 but I assume that is so)
- No feeder pattern or boundary changes - use technology and improved support to manage capacity
6th grade academy would treat all Eckstein and Hamilton students the same and addresses capacity management issues at both schools. However, it would be the highest cost option and they do admit "limits access of 6th graders to advanced courses and sports."
New JA Middle School would have fewer students reassigned and reduces some capacity pressure (although it could almost be called minor for Hamilton). The concerns are sending students a new middle school when their parents were told this would NOT be happening and "not all 6th graders in the Eckstein and Hamilton attendance areas would be treat the same."
No changes. Lowest costs, same assignment plan, more planning time. Concerns include lack of enrollment reduction at Eckstein/Hamilton.
Now there are some interesting items to note like the capacity at John Marshall is now said to be 952 (which is what I had heard for years) and the 6th grade academy would be 800. That would shrink Eckstein down to 816 and Hamilton to 678.
The district says:
The community is invited to give input and feedback on the three options prior to the meeting by e-mail at
Responses will be tabulated for the School Board's discussion.
Fine to tabulate but this is NOT a vote so the Board should take any "votes" with a grain of salt. Of course the votes out of Eckstein could easily outweigh those from JA or any elementary school.
Also, there is some confusion over when, during the meeting, this issue will be discussed. (I called the Board office as the notice says from 4:15-4:45 pm but I was told it was from 4:30 pm to 5:15 pm.)
I would advise you to get there at 3:30 as that is when the meeting actually starts (and the agenda does have more than one item on it).
Me? I'm for no changes. While it puts off the inevitable, nothing else seems to be truly vetted or planned. This is major, major change AND more change is coming via boundary changes in 2014-2015.
Planning is key in all things. We don't do enough of it in this district. Also, I can't get over the JA option saying that "not all 6th graders" would be treated the same. At least in the 6th grade academy, they are ALL in the same boat. You can argue that their older siblings had a different 6th grade experience but that was then and this is now.
Planning and equity, I believe, are the way to go.