Grove Hall Community Center – November 5, 2015

Screenshot 2015-11-12 13.20.22At each citywide community meeting, we are working to inform and engage the community in a unique way. We’ve created an interactive community meeting with the goal of informing the public while getting their feedback on the proposal and engaging with them to improve it.

After each meeting, we will publish notes from our team on key areas of discussion. They will not have the context of the speaker or subject, but will, we think help inform the online discussion while being transparent about the feedback we are getting– positive, negative, and beyond.

 Family Experience

Our Grove Hall meeting began with families sharing their experiences with enrollment. Family members shared that:

  • Experience was different for each child– it was easy to enroll one student and difficult for the CTFTvG_WoAANKIKsecond
  • Signing up for schools required considering a lot of different choices
  • Had to do homework before going
  • People in the office should be friendlier and help inexperienced people and recent immigrants
  • No longer any magnet schools which brought students together
  • Easy in a bad way
  • Only three schools offered K1 and one of those options is no longer available
  • BPS and charter systems were easy
  • Catholic schools required money
  • There were more choices before the “home-based” system; concerned that this may take away more choice
  • Difficult to get child out of a school
  • Perspective with a two year old– system appears daunting
  • Had to wait; BPS was challenging (some positive)
  • Many struggles in getting information


Comments/Question and Answers

Q. How many charter schools would do this?
A. We don’t know yet. The policy could set a threshold– such as 75% of seats– needed for the system to go into effect.

Q. How will this work in areas of the city where there is less capacity for SPED/ELL students and those with high levels of need?
A. Charter schools will be folded into the current BPS system which includes SPED and ELL overlays.

Q. Which charters are opting in?
A. We don’t know yet. This information will be made public.

C. Law needs to change at funding mechanism.

Q. Do my BPS choices remain the same, simply adding local charter schools to the list.
A. Under the existing proposal, your list will include two Tier I BPS schools and two Tier I charter schools. The rest of the list will populate sector-agnostic. Some feedback has been that charter schools should be purely additive. This is something to consider.

Q. How can you tell if one school is doing better than another? Which metrics?
A. We do not have an answer to this yet. We are looking to families to explain what defines a “better” school.

C. This seems like we are returning to school segregation. It tells you what schools you can go to based on your address.
A. The home-based system tries to balance quality close to home with equity. It is designed to bring quality choices to all areas. Possible segregation will be addressed by the pending equity analysis.

Q. Is there a plan in motion for high schools?
A. All high schools are currently citywide. This proposal will not address these schools for now.

Q. How quickly would this be implemented?
A. We want to do something for parents, but this takes time to fully develop. The fastest path to approval is by 16/17 for students entering schools in September 2017. We want to have a well fleshed-out proposal by the beginning of the year.

Q. Why might some schools opt-in? Are there any financial restrictions?
A. Schools want to be a part of the Boston community and show that they can and do serve all students.

Q. How much thought has been given to funding the system?
A. Administrative costs are on the table to be considered.

Q. Why change the home-based system when we don’t know if it’s working? What about the new school quality framework?
A. School Committee has voted to delay implementation of the school quality framework for one year. We need more discussions with schools and families. We also want a full equity analysis for the home-based system. Some data is available now, but it will take three years of enrollment for a comprehensive evaluation.

Q. How can we standardize data for all schools?
A. District and charter schools will look at the school quality framework to see which domains they can implement.

Q. Are all charter schools Tier I?
A. No. School tiering is based on quantitative data that is sector agnostic.

C. There needs to be quality Special Education programming across the board, quality BPS schools across the board doing what children need. There needs to be best practice. Let’s focus on that instead of this proposal.
A. School quality is addressed at other Compact tables. This conversation is forcing BPS and charter schools to think about quality, equity, and meeting the needs of all students.

C. I don’t understand why we are doing this. I don’t understand how to do this if all charter s are not a part of it. ELL and SPED has to be equal across the board with charter schools and BPS. School financing and the charter cap are intimately connected– we can’t say it’s not connected to unified enrollment.
A. Financing and the charter cap are part of the context. This does not fix these issues, but we are not being dismissive of that reality. We need citywide collaboration to address financing.

Q. What happens to bus transportation? Kids can be hurt– almost killed– and I don’t want my kid to walk.
A. Adding schools to the system does not address transportation policy. Students outside of the current walk zone are still provided transportation.

C. We need to take a step back and focus on quality and fixing the system. We need to give parents the ability to add their voices. I am scared about these changes. Monitors and bus drivers’ jobs.

C. I am not in favor of this. Level 4 and 5 schools need to be up to standard. We need to fix those schools– and all are the same. If schools are no performing get rid of the staff.
A. Home based system depends on quality increasing.