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Redistricting Recommendation to the Board of Education
JUNE 15, 2012
The Challenge and Options Explored
While schools across the United States face many demands that unite them—the task of molding productive, motivated, and empowered citizens is one common challenge —redistricting is a unique dilemma every single time it is encountered. From New York, to Idaho, to California, redistricting is an unpopular, but essential part of the process of public education. While the feelings that emerge during redistricting may be the same—fear of change, loss of identify, uncertainty—the solutions are always unique and District specific. There is no “right” answer, no “one-size fits all” prescription or even a formula that could be applied to more than one District. The confluence of factors— demographics, geographic location and size of District, enrollment projections, and much more, make this an extremely complex task. And just as there is no single “answer” to redistricting, the solutions that make sense for one generation often cannot be applied to another, even in the same District. There were dozens of options for redistricting that were discussed. From these initial discussions, many possibilities emerged and were carefully examined. Each time, the options were measured against the same rubric of expectation. We asked: Will this redistricting plan help our District meet its goals? Many of these models had merit in some areas, but fell short in others.
Why is the Kingston City School District Redistricting?
Enrollment Decline. The Kingston City School District is shrinking. The District has undergone a 19 % drop in student enrollment since 2004. This represents a decrease of 1,300 students. The District has not enacted a redistricting plan since 2002, and needs to address these significant population changes through a comprehensive plan.
10000 8000 6000
Decrease in Student Enrollment
7764 7272 7184 6966 6971
Academics. The District needs to improve the delivery of education to better serve our students. Currently, five of the District’s 4000 schools are designated by the State Education Department as “In Need of Improvement.” These include Kingston 2000 High School, J. Watson Bailey Middle School, M. Clifford Miller Middle School, Harry L. Edson Elementary School and 0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 John F. Kennedy Elementary School. Redistricting is part of a comprehensive plan to create a new atmosphere of improvement and adapt to the changing times. Redistricting will enable the District to become more effective and efficient by consolidation of resources, both physical (buildings) and personnel (staff). Finances. The District is dealing with a new financial reality. Redistricting is not about “saving” money, it is about working within new budgetary limits in order to become financially viable. Since 2008, the District has experienced a loss of State Aid of approximately 13%. The State’s new tax levy limit legislation caps the amount the District can spend, while increasing fixed costs (contractually mandated salaries and benefits) continue to rise.
What is the KCSD trying to achieve by Redistricting?
Improve the Delivery of Education. Through redistricting, the KCSD seeks to create an atmosphere of continued improvement. Improve the Delivery of Services. The KCSD seeks a redistricting plan that will improve the delivery all services (social services, speech therapy, physical therapy, reading instruction, academic intervention/ response to intervention etc.) to all of our students. Fiscal Security. The plan should address the short and long term fiscal issues faced by our District. Capacity. The plan should maximize our resources by using our buildings to their best potential. Facilities Planning. A redistricting plan should effectively address short and long term facilities issues by creating an efficient model of use that will enable the District to focus financial resources on students, not buildings. Improve Value. The plan should enhance the educational and social value of the KCSD to the Community.
What if we do nothing?
Redistricting Task Force Committee Members
Mr. Adrian Manuel Kingston High School principal Dr. Paula Perez Frank L. Meagher Elementary School principal Mr. Brian Martin Anna Devine Elementary School principal Mr. William Krupp Harry L. Edson Elementary School principal Ms. Julie Linton J. Watson Bailey Middle School principal Ms. Kim Terwilliger M. Clifford Miller Middle School principal Ms. Marystephanie Corsones Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Mr. John Voerg Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and Administration Ms. Sandy Miller Assistant Superintendent for Student Services
Academics. Currently we have a dropout rate of 29%. This is significantly higher in our minority, economically disadvantaged, and student with disabilities sub groups (53% blacks, 40% Hispanic/Latino, 41% Economically Disadvantaged, 73% student with disabilities). Two of our elementary and both our middle schools are designated schools in need of improvement. As a District our K-8 population is not making Adequate Yearly Progress in 5-9 sub-groups in English Language Arts and 4 out of 9 subgroups in Math. Kingston High School has been directed by the State to restructure. Failure to fundamentally change the way we are providing education to our students will lead to no improvement in these facts. Of course, redistricting alone will not solve the academic issues. However, a comprehensive, thoughtful redistricting plan can be part of the solution to the crisis our District is facing. Race to the Top initiatives are underway, and we have great hope for Data Driven Instruction, Common Core and Annual Professional Performance Reviews. Without redistricting, the district will not be able to afford to implement these initiatives. Our resources are spread thin throughout the district in an inefficient manner; we must consolidate these resources and cut expenses where we can.
Princeton Model (K-2, 3-5, 6-8)
In this configuration there are advantages such as the ability to create early learning centers, balancing of class size, and modest one-time financial savings. The disadvantages of multiple transitions, difficulty for multi-student families, transportation and the need for greater financial impact were among the reasons this was not the recommendation. Furthermore, the short span of time in spent in each building by students is seen as detrimental to student’s academic and social growth.
K-6, 7-8, 9-12
This grade span does not meet the redistricting goals of the district due to the absence of fiscal impact and the movement away from the district’s commitment to the Board of Regents policy statement on Middle Level Education.
Relocation of Kingston High School
The movement of Kingston High School to Miller Middle School or an alternate location would add to the District’s financial crisis. Construction costs to add capacity and/or prepare buildings for high school students would be costly, require voter approval and take several years to accomplish. This move would have to be made in conjunction with multiple other changes in the district grade span that have been deemed to not meet the redistricting goals of the district. The relocation of Kingston High School would also leave the district with a large, vacant building in the heart of the city of Kingston, which would have an adverse impact on the community. It important to note that a recent survey conducted by KCSD indicated that participants believed that grade level configuration had little to do with the academic success of students.
What is the most important factor in a high quality education system?
Quality Administration & Leadership 6.2% Quality of the Content of Programs & Services Offered 11.7% Variety & Depth of Programs & Services Offered 5.3% Class Sizes 7.0% Grade Configuration 0.9%
Quality Teachers 54.3%
K-4, 5-8, 9-12 is the Redistricting Recommendation
This grade configuration was the unanimous choice of the Redistricting Task Force comprised of our district’s building and district leaders.
Overall. This grade span model will allow the district to improve the delivery of education and services by consolidating our resources. Academic K-4. This grade span model will allow the district to shift the educational focus of our elementary schools to developing primary/foundational skills for our students to be successful; providing greater emphasis on literacy, early language development as well as basic numeracy development. Academics 5-8. As stated in the Board or Regents policy statement on Middle Level Education, young adolescents, ages 10-14, are undergoing many transformations (physical, intellectual, social, emotional and psychological). The middle school grades (5-8) are a critical time to students’ personal growth and development and their success in high school. Research shows that there is a direct correlation between the number of years spent in the school prior to entering high school and their success in grades 9-12. This model best supports our districts ability to provide an environment that is supportive of our 10-14 year old students’ social, emotional, academic and extra-curricular needs. Addressing Enrollment Decline. The change to a K-4, 5-8 grade span model will allow the district to effectively utilize building capacity and balance class size throughout the district. Fiscal Security. The new grade span model will create a more effective and efficient school district through consolidation of resources, instructional staff, support staff, administration, technological facilities and maintenance. We will focus our spending on students, not buildings. This will impact the district finances immediately and save for the future. 4
The Redistricting Plan
• Merge Anna Devine Elementary School with Robert Graves Elementary School • Merge Zena Elementary School with Edward R. Crosby Elementary School • Merge Sophie Finn Elementary School with Harry L. Edson Elementary School
Through these mergers, Zena, Anna Devine and Sophie Finn will be closed and the District will be able to achieve the goals of the redistricting plan. Resources will be re-allocated to meet academic goals of our District and the Race To The Top goals of the State and Federal Government. Class sizes will be balanced Districtwide, District Building capacity will be efficiently utilized, school populations will become equitable, K-2 will remain small throughout the district. The District will achieve significant, immediate and long-term financial savings of approximately 25 million dollars over the next five years. The magnitude of the change must equal the magnitude of the crisis.
Projected Figures for 2013-2014
Section Number of Classrooms Avg. Class Size K-2 Class Size Total Population Capacity (SED) Ethnicity Sections Saved
Anna Devine/ Robert Graves
Sophie Finn/ Edson
17 20 21 20, 20, 24 341 88% 39%
15 17 22 22, 22, 22 321 74% 50%
15 24 28 28 418 86% 63%
9 15 23 18, 18, 18 212 77% 15%
22.8 19, 19, 22 362 78% 14% 6
21.5 18, 18, 19 295 71% 12% 4
23.6 21, 21, 21 422 86% 27% 4
TOTAL SECTIONS SAVED = 14
Middle School Enrollments
J. Watson Bailey Middle School
M. Clifford Miller Middle School
• Grade 5 - 245 students • Grade 6 - 225 students • Grade 7 - 228 students • Grade 8 - 277 students • Total Population - 975 students • Total Capacity - 1,184 students/ 83 % Capacity Realized
• Grade 5 - 271 students • Grade 6 - 259 students • Grade 7 - 287 students • Grade 8 - 196 students • Total Population - 1,013 students • Total Capacity - 1,141 students/88% Capacity Realized 5
K-4: Specific Advantages: Consolidated Resources
• Ensuring that students master the basic fundamental skills before moving on to higher order skills • Supporting early literacy development by providing targeted instructional support in oral language skills • Using frequent assessment to drive instruction • Providing immediate re-teach and remediation and enrichment, targeted to specific student needs • Embedded professional development for faculty/staff • Small group instruction beyond classroom instruction that crosses grade levels that recognizes uneven progress in early learning age students (more readily addressed in this setting) • Multiple sections per grade, providing greater opportunities for Professional Learning Communities among faculty/staff • Increased access to Social Work, Special Education, School Psychologist, Technology, Library, Reading and Math instruction • Implementation of Response to Intervention (RTI) 5th Grade Specific Advantages: Consolidated Resources to improve student access to academic, social, emotional and extra-curricular services
• Enrichment • Acceleration • Remediation/Reading/Response to Intervention (RTI) • Implementation of an interdisciplinary approach where students can integrate their studies • Imbedded professional development/coaching for teachers • Greater access to technology and support in computer labs • Use of Data Driven Instruction • Flexible groupings based on student needs
Early exposure to: foreign language, technology, family and consumer sciences, clubs, after school and intermural activities. • Four, four year blocks of attending the same school, allowing for greater community and relationship building • Greater exposure to the diversity of our school district • Movement toward greater academic/social independence – bridge to high school and Academy model
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