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Neighborhood Schools A Brief History Of Managing School Use, Student Enrollment, and Transportation In the Greece Central School System.

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Presentation on theme: "Neighborhood Schools A Brief History Of Managing School Use, Student Enrollment, and Transportation In the Greece Central School System."— Presentation transcript:

1 Neighborhood Schools A Brief History Of Managing School Use, Student Enrollment, and Transportation In the Greece Central School System

2 Step 1. Defining “Neighborhood”  Is It Defined by Geography? Address Based, like Zip Codes? Consistent Borders Travel – or “Service Area”.  Is It defined by a “Purpose” Economic, Social, Functional  Or, Is it just a concept?

3 Step 2.How are areas for a “Neighborhood School” Established  Is It Geographic?: Is it defined by “map coordinates”.  Yes, but not totally  Is it defined by function: Area established by the number of students by grade level for a given building capacity.  Or is it more of a concept ?: A sk for a definition of “Neighborhood Schools” from any resident!

4 Example of Boundaries Variance for Two “Neighborhood Schools”  Geographic Service Area Boundary

5 Example of Boundaries Variance for Two “Neighborhood Schools”  Capacity- Demand 

6 They picked “Service Area”  At onset, Greece decided on Elementary “Distributed Campuses” rather than one or two Central Campuses. Kids could walk to schools, attendance areas could be adjusted annually. Higher parent involvement, “small school” atmosphere Minimal Cost increase in duplicated Services

7 Service Area Reality  Distributed Campuses: Not enough campuses to eliminate the need for busses. K-6 transport by distance meant “My 1st graders rides a bus,my third grader walks. Why?” Higher parent involvement but only for core families who remained in area. Families near boundaries often attended a different school every year. Parent quote, “I have been P.T.A. vice president in four schools.” Minimal Cost in duplicated Services was never achieved.

8 Service Area Solutions  NO Practical Solutions: Restrict enrollment. Real Estate Agent to buyer:" Over enrollment in this neighborhood school prevents me from selling you this house.” Control grade level class sizes: “Honey, we can’t have a child unless we agree to move to Brookside!” Severely distort Service areas:" What if we made the boundaries for Parkland look like a giant squash or cucumber bounded by …..”

9 Function Cost Problems Emerged Number of “Grade Level” classrooms and related space often were at a mismatch with the demand even when a building was at or below “rated capacity”. Building classrooms not designed for easy conversion. 1 st graders restroom requirements differed from 5 th graders and vice versa. Teacher - student ratios often out of balance. Class sizes all over the map.

10 Trying to make it work Attempts to fix:  Adjustable height or location in everything from chalkboards to playground equipment.  Art and other services were placed on carts.  Portable Classrooms Library and other educational materials became “polarized” with some buildings having them – others not. We became the “Greece Central School Districts”

11 SOLUTION -- CENTRALIZE  Board finally became aware the quality of “elementary education” was being compromised by the restriction of the decentralized campus.  We needed to transition from the “one room school house” model to the “applied resource” model.  We had to buy more buildings and more busses.

12 Facility Problem Solution  We could solve part of the problem by putting wheels under students but there was no way of putting classrooms on wheels  Solution: rebuild elementary schools to optimize grade level classrooms  That meant reorganizing to a K-2,3-5, middle and HS. model

13 SOLUTION 2: Buffer Schools & K-5  Reorganized to K-2,3-5, middle and HS. Model  West Ridge was assigned as a buffer school populated by subscription  Service areas were virtually doubled in size which meant increased transportation

14 Problems with New Model.  Poor articulation of objectives K-2,3-5, Insufficient preparation for the middle school lead to a series of educational problems some of which linger to this day. Student performance info did not span grade 2 to Grade 3 transition  Parents, whose children had successful K-6 experience, disliked K-2, 3-5 arrangement  Parents who suffered boundary changes saw little difference

15 Benefits -  Attendance Boundaries Stabilized  Improved programs for the Arts  Easier to develop student’s unique talents  Improved quality management  Savings in direct labor costs because of more uniform class sizes.  Improvements in Special Ed

16 Dollars and Sense Labor Direct Per Pupil Teacher Labor No fringe benefits and city data is excluded

17 Dollars and Bussing Direct Per Pupil Transportation No fringe benefits and city data is excluded

18 Difference in Labor and Transportation Dollars Greece spent over $800 LESS than the State Average on direct teacher labor in 2004-05.

19 What the numbers mean  Greece teachers are more productive in terms of number of students supported.  We could spend much more per pupil on transportation and still be ahead of the State.  Transportation cost do nor correlate precisely to number of students

20 Summary  Restructuring Educational Programs is a work in progress  It has been compromised by a a lack of good comparative data and a willingness for Board members to understand it.  We, the Greece Community, need to discard the conventional wisdom or we may yet snatch defeat from the jaws of success.

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