I wrote to Barbara Senges at the Board of Ed about the recent news that three Middletown Elementary schools will now have a choice option, due to their CMT scores over the past two years. She got right back to me with the following information, and I'm printing it verbatim so that you get all the details:
From Barbara Senges, Asst. Superintendent, Middletown Schools:
By Federal Law, No Child Left Behind, school districts are required to offer school choice to parents of students who attend Title I schools that have not made AYP – Adequate Yearly Progress, for two consecutive years and are identified as “In Need of Improvement”. Bielefield, Snow and Spencer are now so identified following the results of the 2009 CMT taken this past spring. Late last week we received a letter from the State department that we are obligated to notify the parents at these schools 14 days before the start of school (yesterday) that they are entitled to transfer to another school because of the Federal Law.
The law, however, gives us the right to choose which schools are open based on space availability. For this reason, we are offering parents at these three schools to transfer students to Wesley (Kindergarten, grades 1 and 3 – 20 students) and Farm Hill (Kindergarten grades 2, 3, 4 and 5 -36 students). The openings at different grade levels in each school vary. All parents need to notify the principal of their school (Bielefield, Snow or Spencer) by Wednesday August 26 of their decision. Each principal is having an informational meeting at his/her school on Monday August 24 at 6:00. If our requests exceed our openings, we will conduct a lottery, giving preference to low-achieving students. The decision to transfer is final and once a student transfers he/she cannot request return to his/her sending school in subsequent years. It is also possible that a parent who has younger children who are not presently in school may not be able to send these youngsters to the new school, if Bielefield, Spencer or Snow (the sending schools) are subsequently removed from the Needs Improvement list and are not eligible for school choice.
The letter also states that the district is only responsible for transportation for transfer students who are eligible for “free or reduced” lunch and are also low achieving. Anyone else who requests a transfer must supply their own transportation.
As I understand it, parents who are in those schools have already received this information by mail, but perhaps this post will be helpful to families that are checking Middletown news while on vacation.