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Highlights from School Board Meeting 5/17

UPDATE: This was just tweeted by @RPS_Schools: “City School Administration Proposes Premiere Preschool Learning Center http://bit.ly/d1L2Of” The link is to a News Release by the Administration. Looks like there will be an opportunity for parents to walk through Maymont Elementary School before the next meeting on May 27th at 5pm.

VPI Highlights from Meeting:

I attended the school board meeting last night and on the agenda was a proposed plan to consolidate the VPI programs of Fox, Munford, Cary, Maymont and Clark Springs into one building at Maymont ES. Another part of the plan is to move Maymont students to Clark Springs and move other preschool populations around the city to the new preschool center at Maymont.

The only new portion of the plan was a little more clarification as to the actual workings of the center: We will be providing: food services, before and after school care, part time nursing services, part time media services, and art and music on a rotational base. The research-based language and literacy strategies implemented in our Federal Early Reading First Project, with the Literacy Foundation and Virginia Commonwealth University, will be integrated into the Maymont Preschool Center.

There was also an extensive time line and implementation plan which lists these future dates:

  • May 21th- meeting with preschool staff to discuss transfer procedures
  • May 27th – public hearing at Maymont Elementary 6:00pm
  • June 7th – school board votes

If the plan is approved, then:

  • June 24th-July 2nd – Begin cleanup/repairs of Maymont
  • July 6th-10th – walk through of Maymont and Clark Springs for Administration
  • August – Conduct transition and welcome activities for students and parents

(I’ve really only included those dates pertinent to the VPI transfer. If you are interested in Maymont’s move to Clark Springs let me know and I can share those dates as well.)

Those who spoke regarding VPI were either parents of Mary Munford students or Fox students. And, most were far more concerned about the timing of this process than the plan itself.

The new piece in the plan about working with the Literacy Foundation and VCU is intriguing to me. What if they led with the benefits of this program instead of the money it is going to save RPS? Would parents get more excited about a program if they were told about the good things about it and given some research to support this plan (eight months ago) instead of just being told the financial benefits?

Another interesting thing that came up is that in the budget, VPI is only approved for one more year. Next year we will have to wait until the budget is passed to find out if it will continue. Is it worth all of this fuss only to do the preschool center for one year?

This article in the RTD raises some interesting questions (along with including a lot of comments!). Is it only Fox and Munford parents who object to the center? How do parents in the three other VPI programs feel?

Spanish Immersion Highlights:

As to the Spanish Immersion portion of the public comments, a Fox parent and a Fox teacher both asked the School Board to revise their plan of reimplementing Spanish Immersion for K and 1st grades and instead continuing the program for those students who have already begun. So making the program available in 1st and 2nd grades instead. I agree with that suggestion given the fact that that will be the only way to ascertain the program’s worth. While the first choice would be to have the program to continue to grow, if it cannot, it should continue for the students who have already experienced it.

I think that this program could potentially bring more students to the RPS system. A neighbor of mine moved from Hanover County so that his son could be involved in the program.

MORE TIME LINE:

May 18th – parent meeting at Clark Springs

May 20th – meet with teachers of affected schools to discuss human resource options and inform of transfer procedures, if necessary

May 21 – Meet with preschool teachers and staff to answer HR questions

May 21 – Principals contact internal school auditors to discuss procedures to close out accounts for student activity funds.

May 27th – tour of Maymont 5pm, public hearing @ Maymont 6pm

June 7th – Consider approval of Pre-K transition recommendation

Upon School Board Approval

June 7th – Notify staff of placements

June 8th – Disseminate and discuss possible transportation routes with PMOC and school administration

June 10th – Meet with key admin personnel at Clark Springs and Maymont to discuss the logistics of the transition

June 10th – meet with staff of Maymont and Clark Springs

June 11th – Send Maymont students new school assignment letters home through the USPS

June 11th-16th – Plan events to commemorate and recognize Maymont ES

June 16th-21st – Plan and schedule an Open House for new parents and students who will be attending Clark Springs 2010-11

June 16th-23rd – Meet with staff to discuss technology, furniture, and other assets and all RPS instructional materials. Teachers personal materials packed and labeled for distribution

June 16th-23rd – Begin the process of packing and labeling for delivery of materials to assigned locations

June 17th – Meet with business and community partners of both schools

June 24th – Begin the process of transferring information from the AS400 to respective receiving schools (completion date: June 28th)

June 24th – Review, coordinate, pick-up, and transfer student records. Discuss a place to hold records until students physically report to schools

June 24th-30th – Complete student records transfers

June 24th-July 2nd – Begin the total school clean up/repairs of Maymont

June 24th-July2nd – Transfer property/books/curriculum materials/supplies/computers to assigned locations

July 6th-10th – Principal and central office perform a walk-through of both physical plants (Clark Springs and Maymont)

August – Conduct transition and welcome activities for students and parents

August – Send official bus routes to parents of Maymont students

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