Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cooley/PIAS Merging?

Word on the street is that "turnaround" high school Cooley Health & Science High School and the Providence Academy of International Studies (PAIS), which share a building, will share a single, new principal next year. This would seem to pave the way for merging them into a single 800 student high school. PAIS is one of the stronger small high schools; it is fairly traditional but attracted a strong faculty and has had relatively good numbers, particularly in 4-year graduation rate.

This would go along with the district's implicit anti-small schools strategy. I don't think this strategy has been publicly discussed, but then again, I don't think the original small school strategy was the result of much public discussion either, so it cuts both ways. How this will interact with the whole "turnaround" agenda under the state also remains to be seen. I'm not aware of it coming up in the discussion of turnaround options.

Tactically, it is hard for me to see how this is going to come out a winner for administration, other than saving money. I tend to think that the rule of thumb would be combining a strong school and a weak one will give you something closer to the weak one.

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