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Old 08-24-2017, 11:53 AM
 
245 posts, read 144,120 times
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Do you think it's a bad thing or not when a school district's attendance boundaries have a lower-level school (e.g. elementary or middle) that instead of all its students going to one higher-level school (e.g. middle or high) splits the body and sends them to different schools?

My opinion is that "clean feeds" should be considered, but only as a second-order factor if such can be accommodated without overcrowding certain schools or the use of funds that could be put to other use to construct new buildings. I do not think districts should put some school buildings over capacity while leaving others underutilized for the sake of keeping student bodies together throughout their K-12 career.

I also do not think that schools should run bus routes (especially if there's already a bus driver shortage, budget shortfall, etc. like where I live) and send kids away from an available neighborhood school within walking distance solely for "clean feeding" the students. (An acceptable compromise IMO in cases like these where one school is close to a neighborhood but most of the students from the lower-level school would feed into another would be to allow those families either an automatic choice or an open transfer to attend either school without any activity participation penalty, but if you choose the school farther away to follow the child's friends the family has to provide their own transportation.)

I know that some will frown upon my opinion in that it'd be harder socially for the students, but I had to deal with it when I went from elementary to junior high, and I think that physical plant or financial considerations are more important. Then again I am against "social promotions" for students who are failing.

If you're on the fence with your opinion here, do you think it's different when a school is split roughly 50:50 on where its students move on to vs. when a small portion of the student body is separated from the rest?
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Old 08-24-2017, 05:51 PM
 
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I don't live in, or work in, a district that does this. Seems silly to me. Around here students are bussed to ensure racial diversity.
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Old 08-24-2017, 09:53 PM
Status: "On Break" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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My district has some "dual enrollment" areas for a couple high schools. (This is a large district with 6 "comprehensive" [AKA neighborhood] high schools.) My home is actually closer to a high school in another attendance area than the one we are assigned, but that's a situation of where the city limits are.
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Old 08-28-2017, 09:31 AM
 
Location: The analog world
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My neighborhood elementary school sends children to two different middle schools. It's an artifact of the way the community developed, not an attempt to ensure diversity. The schools are comparable academically and both require bus transportation. All students end up at the same high school three years later. It does cause a little drama with the fifth grade parents when they realize that friend groups that have developed during elementary school will be split up, and there's always a race to open enroll to ensure those kids stay together. The school that benefits from the effort to maintain these social groups varies from year to year. It just depends on which part of the neighborhood has the most fifth graders in any given year.

Personally, I think it's ridiculous, because an adjacent neighborhood elementary has the same issue, and the obvious solution is to send all of the kids from our neighborhood to one middle school and all of the kids from the other neighborhood to the other middle school. For whatever reason, though, the district has decided to go with the status quo, so every February, fifth grade parents freak out and deluge the district offices with requests to change their children's middle school enrollment. It's nuts, but it is what it is, and we deal with it.
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Old 08-28-2017, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Back in the Mitten. Formerly NC
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This can vary greatly by location.

Here, it is common to have many smaller districts. I live in a city of 30K people and it has three school districts, a couple of square miles that are part of a fourth school district, and there are a couple of tiny sections serviced by three other school districts. Outside of the large cities, only a few districts (mainly in Metro Detroit) have multiple high schools.

In North Carolina, school districts are typically county-wide (there are a few exceptions where there is still a city school district). The elementary school I taught at fed two middle schools primarily, with a tiny sliver going to a third. However, we often had at least one kid going to each middle school in the district because they were moving, recently moved, etc... Then, after middle school, they could get split again. That was less common, but it did still happen. There were seven middle schools and six traditional high schools. (Plus an alternative high school and an early college.) Boundaries were made for population purposes. I can't say they don't shift one way or another due to other circumstances, but for the most part, feeder schools are ignored and it is simply population being considered.

I'm not a fan of the large districts in general, and for many reasons. Feeder schools really aren't even on my list of reasons. One of the biggest differences I noticed was with the school pride and sense of community. If you had kids in high school, you were very supportive of the high school. But otherwise? Not so much. In my hometown (not where I live now, but a town with one district, one high school), the whole district wore school colors on game days. Homecoming was a big deal. All the schools celebrated. I taught in NC for 6 years and never once knew when a homecoming even was! Another reason- snow days. In NC you have to make them all up- often losing spring break or even making them up on Saturday! Many times we had school canceled without a drop of precipitation because another part of the county had freezing rain. It was very frustrating! Yet another reason- redistricting. The year I hired in is when a new elementary opened. It shifted boundaries. I hired in at the top ranked elementary in the district. Some of the kids got changed to one of the worst schools in the district due to the boundary shift. Parents were irate- and rightfully so. Even if they were shifted to a comparable school, I would not be happy if my child had to switch schools!
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Old 08-28-2017, 01:33 PM
Status: "On Break" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaynarie View Post
I'm not a fan of the large districts in general, and for many reasons. Feeder schools really aren't even on my list of reasons. One of the biggest differences I noticed was with the school pride and sense of community. If you had kids in high school, you were very supportive of the high school. But otherwise? Not so much. In my hometown (not where I live now, but a town with one district, one high school), the whole district wore school colors on game days. Homecoming was a big deal. All the schools celebrated. I taught in NC for 6 years and never once knew when a homecoming even was! Another reason- snow days. In NC you have to make them all up- often losing spring break or even making them up on Saturday! Many times we had school canceled without a drop of precipitation because another part of the county had freezing rain. It was very frustrating! Yet another reason- redistricting. The year I hired in is when a new elementary opened. It shifted boundaries. I hired in at the top ranked elementary in the district. Some of the kids got changed to one of the worst schools in the district due to the boundary shift. Parents were irate- and rightfully so. Even if they were shifted to a comparable school, I would not be happy if my child had to switch schools!
As a teacher, I think this stuff is more important to you than it is to the average, non-teacher resident, and a kind of nostalgic look at the "good old days". I also grew up in a town with one high school, I don't remember people wearing school colors on game days, not even in the high school itself. Homecoming? My high school didn't even have a homecoming celebration. Probably the main reason was that the school population was really too big for the building, and there was no way there could be an all-school dance. No one would have been able to afford an off-site dance, and there was no place around big enough to accommodate that in any event. We had a "football queen" and court, usually some cheerleaders. They rode around the football field at a designated game, I believe usually the last football game of the season.

I think that's a problem that could probably be solved. My district has some schools in the Colorado mountains, and there are times when school is just cancelled in the mountain schools. (They don't have to make up missed days until a certain number is reached. I don't know what that is b/c it never happened.)

Parents always complain when their kids are redistricted. Always. Even if their kids are actually zoned into a "better" school, which is hard to define in elementary.
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Old 08-29-2017, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Back in the Mitten. Formerly NC
3,577 posts, read 4,233,458 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina Witt View Post
As a teacher, I think this stuff is more important to you than it is to the average, non-teacher resident, and a kind of nostalgic look at the "good old days". I also grew up in a town with one high school, I don't remember people wearing school colors on game days, not even in the high school itself. Homecoming? My high school didn't even have a homecoming celebration. Probably the main reason was that the school population was really too big for the building, and there was no way there could be an all-school dance. No one would have been able to afford an off-site dance, and there was no place around big enough to accommodate that in any event. We had a "football queen" and court, usually some cheerleaders. They rode around the football field at a designated game, I believe usually the last football game of the season.

I think that's a problem that could probably be solved. My district has some schools in the Colorado mountains, and there are times when school is just cancelled in the mountain schools. (They don't have to make up missed days until a certain number is reached. I don't know what that is b/c it never happened.)

Parents always complain when their kids are redistricted. Always. Even if their kids are actually zoned into a "better" school, which is hard to define in elementary.
No, I loved Homecoming as a kid. The parade, the game. The whole town went. It was a very, very big deal. The parade typically lasted 90-120 minutes (still does). It was a huge deal to get to walk in it. I've actually never experienced this type of thing as a teacher, except for the half a year I was a long term sub.


As for the snow days, it may be solvable in some places, but in NC, it isn't. By law, there are start and end dates to the school year. You cannot go before or after them. There aren't built in make-up days, although we never once made it through a year without at least one snow day (in my 6 years there). So, they pull from Spring Break, other holidays, and Saturday. I've taught on Memorial Day, Saturday, and we lost the entire Spring Break several times. When I asked why they couldn't just cancel certain schools, I was told they couldn't do that. It had to do with money- mostly the central office personnel, their contracts, and their pay.
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:44 PM
Status: "On Break" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
81,413 posts, read 91,857,189 times
Reputation: 28071
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaynarie View Post
No, I loved Homecoming as a kid. The parade, the game. The whole town went. It was a very, very big deal. The parade typically lasted 90-120 minutes (still does). It was a huge deal to get to walk in it. I've actually never experienced this type of thing as a teacher, except for the half a year I was a long term sub.


As for the snow days, it may be solvable in some places, but in NC, it isn't. By law, there are start and end dates to the school year. You cannot go before or after them. There aren't built in make-up days, although we never once made it through a year without at least one snow day (in my 6 years there). So, they pull from Spring Break, other holidays, and Saturday. I've taught on Memorial Day, Saturday, and we lost the entire Spring Break several times. When I asked why they couldn't just cancel certain schools, I was told they couldn't do that. It had to do with money- mostly the central office personnel, their contracts, and their pay.
Never had this public homecoming parade experience.

I don't understand why a district in NC has that many snow days. My kids could probably count on the fingers of one hand how many snow days they had in 13 years each here in Colorado. Some years they had none.
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Old 08-29-2017, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Beehive State
4,255 posts, read 4,604,914 times
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My elementary and junior high schools were what you refer to as "split-feed" schools. It didn't seem to cause any issues. I think my junior high technically fed into two high schools, and my elementary fed into at least three junior highs.
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Old 09-02-2017, 05:27 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth, TX
51 posts, read 27,203 times
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I was fortunate to have attended a small school district where there was only a single middle school that fed into a single high school. Needless to say, both of our elementary schools fed into the same middle school, so friend groups stayed together.

In order to get some community service hours for college I did some volunteering in an elementary school (near my university) that I later found out had a split-feed pattern for middle school. Most of the kids would go on to a middle school just down the street from the elementary, but kids in a small portion of the elementary's attendance zone would attend another middle school a little bit further away. But all of these kids would go on to attend the same high school in the end, provided that they continued to live in the same area the whole time or managed to get a transfer to this HS from elsewhere in the district (which is hard since this HS is one of the most desired in this large, urban district, to the point where parents would camp out the night before to get in line early; however, the aforementioned elementary and middle schools are lower-performing).

Sometimes split-feed schools are a necessary evil in order to prevent overcrowding at certain middle and high schools. Of course, it is more challenging for children when most of their friends go on to the other school.
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