The competitive grant, made under Carnegie's Opportunity by Design Challenge, will support schools modeled after its 10 Design Principles for student success. The schools will be located in existing Providence Public School District buildings, which are still to be determined, and will replace seats at existing schools. The new schools will be open to all PPSD students through the school choice process, and will serve a student population representative of the District as a whole.
This was easier when we needed to add seats to meet growing enrollment. So who might be closed because of this?
Mount Pleasant, Hope and Central are too big to turn into two small schools. On the other hand the Juanita Sanchez Complex was designed to house two small schools, as was Alvarez, at least at one point in the design process. They're both newish, not that deeply entrenched institutions as well.
Are they going to phase the new schools in year by year, or all 4 years at once? If there is one thing we've learned about starting new schools, it is that doing it one year at a time helps a lot. A lengthy phase-in/phase-out is expensive and difficult, however.
Particularly if you're doing it all at once, you either have to keep the existing student body in the building -- in which case you're not really starting a new school, but doing a turnaround/transformation/whatever -- or do a massive reshuffle of students in the district, which would be so disruptive it is difficult to imagine it happening.
Ironically (because I help to lead a charter network opening schools one grade at a time), I'm not convinced grade at a time is actually better. While this method is really good at protecting kid culture, the doubling in size of the staff from year 1 to year 2 and the 50% increase in staff from year 2 to year 3 make for challenges on maintaining adult culture team norming. A fully (or more fully) enrolled school offers the chance of more stability on the faculty side and, more resources to distribute. For a new HS, I would actually encourage looking at opening with grades 9 and 10...it doubles the size of the "founders," thus more are owning and sharing in shaping culture.
I do remember thinking that starting out essentially as principal of a kindergarten probably made you antsy.
Post a Comment