Monday, May 16, 2011

Chopping up Fortes & Lima

Linda Borg for the ProJo:

PROVIDENCE — About 119 students from Flynn Elementary School, one of five schools closing this fall, are moving to the Fortes and Lima elementary school complex, a school official said.

Most of the Fortes teachers will be displaced and will have to re-apply for their jobs.

Here’s the way the schools are being reorganized:

  • Fortes, currently a second-grade through sixth-grade school, will house students in pre-kindergarten and first grade.
  • The Fortes students will go to Lima, which will continue to serve students in second grade through fifth grade.
  • The Fortes/Lima annex will house the existing bilingual education program.
  • And Fortes’ sixth graders will be moved to a middle school.

Faced with this churning, Fortes teachers are upset and several of them expressed their unhappiness at Monday night’s School Board hearing.

Teachers said they felt frustrated because there have been no public hearings on the changes at Fortes. Faculty members want to know why they couldn’t be relocated to Lima, noting that Asa Messer Elementary School teachers will be moved as a group to Bridgham Middle School next year.

“Three hundred students from Fortes will be moving to a new school,” said Patty Landry, a Fortes teacher. “Yet, the teachers aren’t moving with them. Isn’t this completely disruptive?”

Fortes and Lima are two relatively strong elementary schools in the end of town that has had seven schools named "persistently low performing" in the past two years.

That is, of course, the end of town I live in, and by "relatively high performing" I mean I would be happy to send my children to either.

When I first read about this I thought it might not be as disruptive as it sounds now. I'm still confused... my understanding of Lima was that it was it was a whole school bilingual model, so I don't know what it means to move the bilingual program into the annex. They may have moved away from the whole school bilingual thing six years ago for all I know.

Regardless, this is a big risk, and another reason not to plan on sending your child to a PPSD school outside of the East Side or that serves East Side kids.

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