Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moody School Building and Leveling to be discussed at two Board of Ed meetings Tuesday

The School Board will be holding two meetings on Tuesday evening, a special meeting on Leveling at 6PM, and a regular meeting at 7PM.  Both meetings will be in the Middletown High School Cafe.  

Leveling is the Schools administration's plan to combine all students into the same classroom, eliminating advanced classes for mathematics in 6th grade.  The Board has scheduled 20 minutes each for administrators and the Public to speak, and 20 minutes for themselves to discuss Leveling, prior to an "Action Item" on Leveling.  Leveling was discussed extensively by the Board at their June 2nd meeting.  

Moody School and JCJ Report
The second meeting is their regular meeting, scheduled to start at 7PM.  This meeting has a long agenda, full of policy readings, and reports from standing committees.  Two related items stand out, in the "Report of the Superintendent" portion of the meeting.  The first is entitled "Moody School Status" and the second  "Feasibility Study Update."

The Superintendent's office has been concerned about overcrowding at Moody School since at least January.  Assistant Superintendent Barbara Senges came to the January Moody School PTA meeting and assured the parents that there would not be too many students at Moody School next year.   Senges will be making the presentation on "Moody School Status" at the Board Meeting tonight.  

The "Feasibility Study" is the work being carried out by JCJ Architecture, who have been undertaking a district wide utilization study, to determine the best use of Middletown's school buildings.  Their final report is not due until the fall, but an "initial report" was to make recommendations for solving two issues:  overcrowding at Moody and a racial imbalance at MacDonough.  

This initial report, entitled "Observations of potential near-term changes" does not make any recommendations to address these issues, and specifically recommends against redistricting:
Rearranging attendance borders will likely not have a positive impact on the district at this time and is not seen as a viable working option.  
The long range plan will look more deeply into alternatives to large scale changes to attendance districts.  
Athough there are no recommendations for solving Moody's overcrowding issue in the JCJ report, the report does provide data on the enrollment capacity of each school.  Combining these data with the December 1st enrollment figures from the Board of Education office, it becomes obvious that while overall there is more than enough capacity in the elementary school buildings, Moody School is overflowing by the equivalent of nearly 3 classes (57 students):
These enrollment numbers can fluctuate during the course of the school year, and may be slightly different today than they were on December 1st. In fact, the JCJ report uses a total enrollment number for the elementary schools that is 25 students higher than the December 1st numbers used above (about 1%). 

Superintendent Dr. Michael Frechette told me last week that he is looking at several options for Moody School, but that he was not prepared to discuss them at that time.  He agreed that the problem was clearly a lack of capacity.  The Principal of Moody, Yolande Eldridge, told me that the Board has provided resources such as an additional copy machine and added paraprofessionals during this school year, but she could not say what resources might be made  available for the coming year. 

No comments: