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Student assignment plan revisions being considered

By Staff | Nov 9, 2011

Some revisions were brought forth to the Lee County School Board Tuesday afternoon before it votes on some additions to the student assignment plan at the next meeting Nov. 22.

Chief Administrator Officer Alberto Rodriguez said they offered some immediate steps during the Oct. 4 workshop concerning student assignments that need to be implemented right away if they want to include them in the first batch that starts in January.

“Part of our process is not to waste another year. We need to bring it forward rather quickly because we need to get this in batch one in January 2012. We need to be strategic and at the same time strategically fast,” he said.

Those immediate steps include proximity two (P2) and research into implementing a parental involvement index, Rodriguez said.

Although the student assignment plan has to come before the board on an annual basis, there have not been any changes brought to the board in the last three years.

Rodriguez said there are some preliminary changes that the district has to do to keep the train on the track – changes that need to be made before any results are returned from the community survey that will be issued in the near future.

One of the previsions to the plan includes students attending magnet schools. When the status of a magnet school changes, the preference for the student will be taken away.

Student Assignment Director Leila Muvdi said this rule applies only to incoming kindergarten students.

The P2 portion of the student assignment plan also received some revisions.

P2 will be implemented during the 2012-2013 school year for kindergarten through 8th grade students “that provides a second level of proximity preference from the end of the proximity one are reaching up to approximately five miles.”

Muvdi said P2 will allow students to attend schools closer to home for transportation purposes.

“They will be closer to home and be allowed transportation,” she said. “We are going to try these with elementary and middle school applications only.”

Parental involvement is another key factor that the board has shown interest in.

Muvdi said they are trying to figure out how to use parental involvement as a factor to assign kids to schools. She said they are currently working with principals and the parent assistance center to implement a plan into the 2013-2014 school year.

In addition, Muvdi said they are proposing to offer a foreign language program at Tice Elementary School, along with making Edgewood Academy School into a possible arts facility.

“We are trying to figure out how to attract more people to Edgewood and to help with the transportation costs to create an arts program closer to home,” she said, so they can offer fewer long bus rides.

Burke said the programs were brought forward so they can address the under enrollment figures in the East Zone. He said in order to energize the zone they are going to be putting an arts program there.

“We can stabilize the population in E1, which has been a challenge for us,” he said.

Board Member Jeanne Dozier said she wanted to make sure that the assignment office provides plenty of information to parents concerning the eligibility pool because parents do not understand the process.

Muvdi said they have already begun implementing different ways to inform parents like printing information about the eligibility pool on the bottom of their receipt.

“Working on making that information clear for them,” she said.