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CDD Update - Jan. 13, 2020

Last digest:

We shared information about the presentation to the Board of Education on the second part of the boundary study, which placed magnet schools into the study and looked at which grades are taught at each school. Overall, the study showed the possibility of more equitable programming at all schools, improved transportation experiences, and increased racial and economic integration.

We also talked about the fact that families of color often do not have access to the same great school options as other families, and how the CDD is a chance to change that.

What’s new:

Key points: School district leaders continued work on the CDD during winter break. They looked deeper into several parts of the design, including whether or not to adjust the number of magnet schools, changing walk zones to avoid high-crime areas, and developing criteria that would be used should we need to adjust the number of schools. It’s also important to remember the CDD is about more than just a model—as discussed in September, it is about academics, equity and sustainability. Plus a survey comes out today!

More info: Listening to feedback from families who would like more magnet schools, district leaders began studying adding another magnet school. Over the coming weeks, they will explore the impacts of this to school capacity, resources, demographics and integration to see if it’s a viable option. They also reviewed magnet school locations and started developing academic support for magnet themes, including external partnerships.

Staff also identified elementary and middle school walk zones with areas of high crime. They then removed those areas from walk zones to ensure safer routes to school for students. The next step will be to look at what this might cost and make adjustments during implementation of any final proposal. For transportation, the goal remains a more efficient, less complex and safer system for students.

To make sure the CDD considers budget, leaders also began developing criteria to use should MPS need to adjust the number of schools in the district. When finalized, these criteria will help guide conversations around budget as budget decisions are made later this spring.

There’s a lot of information out there right now about the CDD, and a lot of it is simply wrong. Some people believe the CDD is just about saving money or changing transportation, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. (If you need more information, check out the first CDD Digest or the Sept. 10 Board presentation.) The CDD is about academics, equity and sustainability.

As we get closer to the release of the model(s), people lose sight of the other parts of the CDD. In October, MPS discussed its academic plan, which is a crucial component of the CDD, and work is continuing on that. (You should definitely watch this narrated presentation on the academic plan.) MPS’s policies and practices, which are basically the laws of the district, determine who has access in the school system (it’s a racist system) and we’re working on changing those. We know our staff will be crucial to the success of implementing any change, and work is happening there. Reducing transportation complexity, stabilizing enrollment, increasing sustainability and more are all part of this as well.

This wouldn’t be a Comprehensive District Design if it only looked at one part of the system or a single change. In September, MPS declared, "Current district design results in persistent, disparate academic outcomes for students predictable by race and income." At its heart, the CDD is about disrupting that.

What’s coming up:

Today through Feb. 7, a survey of priorities for the final CDD proposal and budget decisions will be available. Students, staff, families and community members are all encouraged to take the survey, which is about 5 minutes long. Results from the survey will help inform the CDD proposal sent to the Board in March and budget proposals sent in May. To ensure underrepresented voices are heard, there will also be a targeted phone survey that asks the same questions. Complete the survey at LINK.

Models of school and district configurations will be presented at the Jan. 28 Committee of the Whole meeting. While the information will be online before the meeting, we encourage everyone to wait until it has been presented before making assumptions or judgments.

Listening and information sessions about the models start this month and continue through February.

How you can stay engaged:

Take the survey!

Provide public comment at the Jan. 14 Board meeting. While you are welcome to speak about anything, what’s most helpful to Board Directors and MPS leadership is to hear what your value in your child’s education, what you want for all students in MPS, and how you think we can get there.

Pick a date to attend a districtwide listening and information session.

Check out answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the CDD, which will be updated regularly, and continue learning as much as you can.

Give feedback on the CDD on our website. While you may not receive an individual response, we read every message, share them district leaders, and use them to update our FAQs.

Once again, thanks for staying engaged and working with us to make sure MPS provides a well-rounded education for all students.