The Power Point presentation for tonight's School Committee meeting is now posted on the ARPS.org website (http://www.arps.org/node/1039#attachments). You can see the current map, as well as 6 additional renditions of that map (and all present the total number of students in each school, the % of students on free/reduced lunch, and the % of students who are struggling). These maps are as follows:
CURRENT: The current map (4 schools, range in free/reduced lunch from 23.7 at WW to 46.2 at CF, range in struggling students from 18.5 at FR to 27.5 at CF).
Map #1: The map presented at the Marks Meadow forum (446 kids in WW/450 at FR/350 at CF, MM partially in FR, 2 islands - one going to FR and one to WW, range in free/reduced lunch from 33.4 at CF to 36% at FR, range in struggling students from 21.4 at CF to 22.6 at WW).
Map #2: The revised map presented at the Crocker Farm forum (444 kids in WW/452 in FR/350 at CF, MM all at WW, 1 island - all going to FR, range in FRL from 30.9 at WW to 39.8 at FR, range in struggling kids from 21.4 at CF to 22.6 at FR).
Map #3: The map presented early in the Crocker Farm forum (449 in WW/459 at FR/338 at CF, MM divided between FR and WW, one island - all going to WW, Amherst Woods split between FR and CF, range in FRL from 31.8 at FR to 39.2 at WW, range in struggling kids from 19.8 at CF to 24.9 at WW).
Map #4: A new map which shows dividing simply based on geography with NO ISLANDS (453 in WW/437 in FR/352 at CF, MM divided between FR and WW, no islands, range in FRL from 28.1 at FR to 47.4 at CF, range in struggling kids from 18.1 at FR to 26.4 at CF).
Map #5: A new map which is basically a slight modification of Map #1 -- with all MM going to WW instead of FR, and a small area of Southeast Street staying at FR instead of going to CF (476 kids at WW/437 at FR/330 at CF, 2 islands - one going to FR and one going to WW, range in FRL from 34.7 at WW to 35.5 at CF, range in struggling kids from 21.7 at FR to 22.3 at WW).
Map #6: A new map which is basically a slight modification of Map #2 -- with a small area of Southeast Street staying at FR instead of going to CF (447 kids at WW/460 at FR/336 at CF, one island - all going to FR, range in FRL from 31.5 at WW to 37.4 at FR, range of struggling kids from 21.3 at FR to 22.9 at CF).
So, the key thing for me (NOT speaking for the whole committee here) is that I think Map #4 is impossible in terms of equity (a gap of nearly 20%), and I think both Map #2 and #3 are undesirable in terms of equity (with FR in Map 2 and WW in Map 3 having over 39% kids on FRL -- too close to the 40% I believe we should be trying to avoid, which could change quickly). Although Map #1 created very good equity (range of less than 3%, no school above 36%), this map divided MM kids, and I believe that dividing off just 12% of kids from a very small school that is closing is not ideal.
That leaves me deciding between Maps #5 and #6. These maps are identical except in one respect -- two islands versus one island. And I'm torn, because I feel like one island is "better" but the one island map has worse equity between the schools (it is less than a 1% divide in Map #5, and a 5.9% gap in Map #6). So, if you are voting based on equity, Map #5 is the clear winner. But I would think that having more kids living off of East Hadley Road traveling together would be BETTER (e.g., 70 kids going to one school instead of 30 going to WW and 40 going to FR seems like it should be better for more neighborhood cohesion in these apartments, more opportunities for playdates/shared transportation, etc.). Yet the comments I'm hearing from the vast majority of people are about not having any islands ... very few people seem to think that one island is better than two islands, and if there is really no difference between these two options (because the island in and of itself is the problem), then I guess Map #5 is the best alternative. For me, that is where my hard thinking is going to be over the next few days, and I do look forward to hearing many thoughts (on my blog, via email to the whole SC, in person, etc.
My Goal in Blogging
I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.