Next Choice Committee meeting: November 3rd

A “save the date” was recently sent out for the next Schools of Choice Committee meeting:

Please save the date for our next Schools of Choice Committee meeting on Tuesday, November 3rd from 10:0011:30 a.m. at the Family Information Center!

Additionally, here is a link for the meeting minutes from the last meeting (June 2nd):

http://www.champaignschools.org/sites/default/files/meetings/minutes/School%20of%20Choice%20Meeting.pdf

I expect that an agenda will be sent out in the days before the meeting. I am quite pleased that the district is considering the possibility of posting historical data for the purposes of showing trends and informing parents; as such, this may be the last Choice meeting I go to. In my opinion, the next big hurdle is dealing with the frustrations that come out of being unassigned, and the inherrant confusion for parents trying to choose only one or two schools. I believe the district is very much aware of these issues, and it seems like they are going down a better path than previous years.

Schools of Choice will always be contentious; we will always have parents that move near a school and expect/hope to go to their nearby school (which makes a lot of sense, who wouldn’t?!?). But because our housing patterns are very much segregated, the current approach to promote and promise diversification of our schools is to assign and bus students hither and yon. On that note, the late Greg Novak had an idea to address these issues:

https://thecitizen4blog.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/a-possible-plan-by-greg-novak/

Personally, I really like the idea of community schools, and I would augment Mr. Novak’s plan by placing one or two “community schools” in traditionally low-income areas – if anything, those areas are more in need of community (I think, I could be wrong). The one big question is one of equity (as opposed to equality); how do we ensure that every child is receiving and has access to all the tools they need to succeed? Every. Single. Child.

Ultimately we must answer the question “What problem are we trying to fix?” My response to that question is that I see a problem of kids who drop out, commit crimes and end up in a punitive, misnamed “correctional facility”. It is our moral and societal obligation to do all we can to make sure each child is successful and supported, and we have to do that while working together.

"A Possible Plan" by Greg Novak

The following was sent to me with permission to post from members of Greg Novak’s family. It is my understanding that Greg wrote most of this while he was in the hospital in January of 2012, and shared bits and pieces with various board members and people close to him. We have waited to allow an appropriate amount of time to pass to give respect to Greg and his family. With the recommendations from DeJong-Richter now in Dr. Wiegand’s hands, which will be presented to the new board this coming Monday (May 13th), I felt the time was right to give light to Greg’s thoughts as a way of continuing the ongoing discussion of what to do with our schools. Speaking on a personal level, I tend to listen whenever Greg speaks because he knew what he was about and was no slouch in the research department.

One final note: it’s totally ok to disagree. 🙂 All I ask is that you present a viable alternative.

A Possible Plan
By Greg Novak

Champaign High School (Country Fair)
Grades: 10-12

Champaign Academy (Centennial)
Grades: 8-9

Champaign Middle School (Franklin)
Grades 6-7 (North-East Regions)

Champaign Middle School (Jefferson)
Grades 6-7 (South- West)

Elementary Specialty Schools

Stratton
BTW.
Garden Hills
Dr Howard (2 strand +gifted)*
South side (2 strand K-7 balanced calendar )*
Westview (balanced calendar K-5)

*. These two buildings would be three strand at K-1, and two strand above that level. Dr Howard would have additional gifted

All of the above schools would have class limits imposed and monitored

“Neighborhood” Elementary Schools

Savoy
Bottenfield
Robeson
Barkstall
Kenwood
Boulder Ridge

These six schools would each have a large “neighborhood” assigned – and any student from the “neighborhood” would have a seat there. Class size is NOT capped at neighborhood schools.

Families would have a choice of either their “neighborhood” school or attending one of the magnets.