14 November Student Assignment Plan: Frequently Asked Questions November 14, 2014 By News News The following is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the district's consideration of potential changes to the Student Assignment Plan. What is the Board of Education Student Assignment Plan Workshop from 3:00-6:00 PM on Monday, July 21 all about? An initial presentation and discussion about the district's Student Assignment Plan is scheduled for Monday, July 21, 2014, from 3:00-6:00 p.m. in the OPS Board Room. This workshop is in support of the district's newly adopted Strategic Plan, which has as a priority objective the redesign of school choice policies and processes to ensure greater clarity, efficiency, and quality. The workshop is intended to provide a preliminary conversation about the Student Assignment Plan and ideas for possible changes. Follow-up community meetings will be planned to gather public feedback regarding suggested adjustments to school assignment, such as grade-level configurations, school boundary adjustments, and specialty schools. What is a Student Assignment Plan? The OPS Student Assignment Plan is the framework that describes how students may access schools throughout the district. The OPS Student Assignment Plan is first, and foremost, "home based." This means students may always attend their home attendance area schools (most OPS students do attend their home attendance area or neighborhood schools). The Plan also allows students to choose other OPS schools and sets the rules for who is eligible for transportation to a school. Why is OPS looking to change its current Student Assignment Plan? The original Student Assignment Plan has been in place since 1999 with revisions occurring in 2010 when the Learning Community’s Diversity Plan was implemented. Many have indicated it's time to update the Plan to better serve OPS families and students. Families have told the district that the Plan is too complex and difficult to understand. Parents are often confused about which schools their children may attend and whether their children are eligible for transportation. Many contend that the Plan could be more efficient in transporting students if transportation services were revised. When might changes to the Student Assignment Plan take place? Implementation of changes to the Student Assignment Plan are probably about two years away. First, and most importantly, the district must listen to its parents, students, staff, and community to gather feedback on how the Plan should be improved and revised. Opportunities for staff and public suggestions will be planned throughout the coming fall months, September through November. The Board of Education is very interested in knowing the suggestions of its families before it approves changes to the Student Assignment Plan. What kind of changes would be considered? Changes to the Student Assignment Plan will most likely consider strategies for how students select schools and how transportation services will be provided. Initial ideas for school choice will be presented to the Board of Education at its July 21st Student Assignment Plan Workshop. These ideas are preliminary and are intended to stimulate conversation and lead to additional ideas and suggestions. Changes to school assignment will also be discussed and include such things as revised grade-level configurations at schools, redesigning schools as specialty schools, and adjusting boundaries should they be needed to accommodate facility modifications (such as constructing a new school or offering programmatic enhancements like a Focus School or Early Childhood Center). Of course, any of these proposals would be presented for public feedback prior to making any final decisions. Will schools be closed? Some schools may be used differently. For instance, an elementary school with low enrollment might be used for a different purpose such as serving as an Early Childhood Center for children 3-4 years old. However, these decisions have not yet been made. Should school re-purposing be considered by the Board of Education, the school’s community would be made aware of such discussions well in advance of any final decisions. Will school boundaries be changed? School boundaries could change if a new school is built or if a school is re-purposed to serve students in a specialized program such as a Focus School. Will grade level configurations be adjusted? This is currently under consideration at the middle school level. The district is gathering input on whether middle schools should remain as 7-8 centers or whether they should be expanded to include 6th graders. Currently, some Magnet Schools serve 5th graders at the middle level. However, there are no plans to move additional fifth graders to middle schools. Please be assured that grade level configuration changes will not be implemented without substantial input from families, students, and staff. Who will ultimately make decisions on proposed changes to the district's Student Assignment Plan? Final approval for an improved Student Assignment Plan will be made by the OPS Board of Education. The Board’s approval will be based upon parent, student, staff, and community input—as well as sound instructional strategies and cost efficiencies. The Board is interested in a Plan that supports high-quality schools throughout the district. How do I provide input on the Student Assignment Plan as it is developed? Many stakeholders have already provided their viewpoints through a public survey that was available on the district website from June 23rd to July 6th. A paper and pencil version of the survey was also available in schools the last week of June. All surveys were available in English and Spanish. The Board of Education will be reviewing the survey results at the July 21st Student Assignment Plan Workshop. But the survey was just the beginning of the district’s plan to gather input about the Plan. This fall, school and community meetings will be conducted to gather additional suggestions about Student Assignment Plan proposals. Staff will also meet with any community group or school organization that would like to know more about the Student Assignment Plan. How can I get answers to my Student Assignment Plan questions? OPS will provide a website address for interested constituents to submit their questions about the Student Assignment Plan. Answers to these questions will be posted within the FAQ. Comments are closed.