At the December 19 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Shaps reiterated the District and Board’s commitment to plan and prepare for projected increased enrollment for September 2018 and to formulate a task force to explore longer-term solutions to the enrollment and space challenges the District faces.
Dr. Shaps said he, the Board and the task force to be formed in January must be “forward thinking” in their thoughts around school and reimagine what is possible, including innovative ways to group students, schedule classroom time, and organize curriculum content. He clarified that the only decision the Board has made thus far is that it will not pursue modular classrooms as a short-term solution to enrollment growth for September, 2018. (The Board ruled out the feasibility of modular classrooms at Murray and Chatsworth Ave. Schools after studying costs, necessary voter approval and SED requirements.)
Dr. Shaps suggested that the Board and community expand the conversation to include a broader vision of the future of public education and how the District should be organized to deliver optimal educational programs.
“Enrollment and space challenges cannot be looked at in a vacuum,” Dr. Shaps said. “Our vision, our purpose, our goals and our desire for continuous improvement are all connected to the decisions we make around space and enrollment.”As part of this exploration, the Board is reading Bold Moves for Schools by Heidi Hayes Jacobs.
In the short term, the District is closely monitoring climbing enrollment trends in Mamaroneck Schools and attempting to get an earlier-than-usual read on actual 2018 Incoming Kindergarten student enrollment numbers, as well as older children entering schools for the first time, with an online census on District families. At its January 23 meeting, the Board will begin discussing a process for looking at the District map -- using the Forecast 5 comprehensive analytics tool -- and consider what parameters the Board might use if it were to decide to adjust the current elementary school zones to address increased enrollment in September. The Board also will continue its discussion on formulating a task force to study possible longer term strategies and will consider the number of task force members, criteria for selection, and diverse representation.
In addition to input from the task force, the Board will seek community input as it moves closer to making decisions. Community members also are encouraged to reach out to the Board with questions and comments by emailing email@example.com.