JEGB Approves Realigned School Attendance Boundaries

Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 11/13/2018

school attendance boundaries map

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Dear Normandy Families,

At its public meeting Monday, November 12, the Normandy Joint Executive Governing Board (JEGB) approved my recommendation for realigning the current school attendance boundaries.

What does this mean? The current school attendance boundaries are used to determine, based on a student’s address, which school a student in grades 1-6, attends. For example, if an elementary student lives in the Pine Lawn area, the student will likely attend Barack Obama Elementary School. The realigned boundaries may mean some students may have to transfer to another school. These boundaries will also determine which schools our current 7th graders return to as part of the reconfiguration to grade 1-8/Elemiddle schools.

Why change the boundaries? This change will support the move to a grade 1-8/Elemiddle school model and the re-opening of Bel-Nor as an Elemiddle school. With Bel-Nor available for students in grades 1-8 who live in that part of the district, there will be a certain number of students who will be transferred from their current school to Bel-Nor, or a school that is closer to their home address. One of the goals of the realigned boundaries is to return to a neighborhood school model. With neighborhood schools, students have shorter commutes, and longer and stronger relationships between students’ families, and school teachers and staff.

Here’s how the realigned school attendance boundaries will support the changes occurring next school year.

Moving to the 1-8/‘Elemiddle’ Model: Beginning August 2019, the Normandy 7th-8th Grade Center will close, and 7th and 8th graders will attend one of the five Elemiddle schools in the district: Barack Obama, Jefferson, Lucas Crossing, Washington and Bel-Nor (the current Normandy Kindergarten Center). The decision to move 7th & 8th graders back to schools serving elementary students was based on extensive research on the academic performance of middle-school students in Normandy and nationally. In Normandy, we examined student data dating back to 2002, and found academic performance stalled for too many of our students in the middle school environment. This has led to many of our students not performing on grade-level when reaching high school, requiring remedial support in critical areas like reading and math. Research has also shown that middle-grade students in a 1-8 setting perform better academically and are better prepared for high school. This change to the grade 1-8 model is our opportunity to improve student achievement for children at this critical stage in their lives.

Re-opening Bel-Nor as an Elemiddle School: With the closing of the Normandy 7th-8th Grade Center and to accommodate the addition of the 7th & 8th graders, we are opening Bel-Nor as the fifth Elemiddle school. Kindergartners will attend the new Early Learning Center, along with pre-school and pre-kindergarten students. The new Early Learning Center is being built at the site of the current N78C. Bel-Nor and the new Normandy Early Learning Center will open for the 2019-2020 school year.

Families with students currently in the 7th grade and students in grades 1-6 who will need to transfer based on the realigned attendance boundaries will be notified by mail in the coming weeks of their school assignment for the 2019-2020 school year.

These are significant changes for Normandy, but progress only comes with change. I heard a wise person say, “Five-year plans are for adults. Our children need change NOW.” These are all child-centered changes for the benefit of our students. As adults, we have a responsibility to make the difficult decisions and do the hard work today to better prepare our children for a successful future. We appreciate your support and patience as we work to make changes for a better Normandy.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Charles J. Pearson

Superintendent of Schools

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