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Grade Configuration Steering Committee Meeting Summary

Oct. 17, 2016: Enrollment and demographics

  • Dr. Butterworth's presentation was a concise summary of the complex demographic study conducted in 2015

  • Distinction between the concepts of projection and forecast

    • Projection: projects past and present demographics into the future to estimate population

    • Forecast: a projection modified by consideration of factors that may affect population

      • One relevant factor visited multiple times by the committee is the rapid increase in ENL and refugee families in the district, which will be addressed at the December meeting

    • This study is a projection, drawn from multiple data sources and demographic factors

      • Concerns were raised about the accuracy of the projections, but as with all projections, it is impossible to completely predict future trends, but this is the closest approximation possible given the data available

  • The most important result of the study is that total middle school enrollment is forecasted to grow by 18.4% (nearly 400 students) by the 2020-21 school year

  • Looking at individual building enrollment, it is clear that elementary building across the district are either nearing of exceeding their intended capacity

    • Large cohorts (class sizes) entering elementary buildings as smaller ones exit show the necessity of at least one additional middle school to accommodate growth

    • A new middle school at 50 North Lark will provide room for some of this growth while long-term solutions to enrollment are developed

  • The study divided the city into five planning regions, and enrollment and growth were discussed for each

    • It was noted that since the closure of the Philip Livingston Magnet Academy, there has been no middle school servicing families on the northern side of town

      • This presents transportation issues for students and families as it is difficult for them to travel easily to and from the building

      • Placing the middle school at 50 North Lark would provide a school within walking distance for many of these families

  • The conclusion of Dr. Butterworth's presentation returned the committee's focus to the issue of equity as being critical to the success of this building

    • It must be fully stocked with technology and equipment to avoid mistakes made during the opening of Myers Middle School

    • It must be staffed according to the needs of students, not according to numbers and regulations

    • There is a misconception that "failing elementary schools" will be lumped together to create a "failing middle school"

      • This is based on false assumptions about what students are capable of, and ignores the test scores are uniformly low across the whole of the district

      • All students are capable of success if they are given what they need to succeed; this is the concept of equity




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