Families Building Community

Welcome to FamiliesBuildingCommunity.org... a grassroots organization of families dedicated to strengthening our neighborhoods and schools.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Notes from F2 Community School Meeting, June 17th, 2009

Thanks to everyone who spent a beautiful summer evening participating in this meeting. Here are the notes…

Notes in PDF Format

F2 Community School Meeting
June 17th, 2009, 7 to 9 pm
Walker Methodist Center, 3737 Bryant Ave. S.

Meeting Summary & Notes

Purpose of the Meeting

This meeting was a conversation held by neighbors for neighbors living in F2 (Kingfield and East Harriett) who would like to consider sending their children to F2’s assigned community school (to be disclosed by District in September). The meeting was a chance for people to connect, talk and dream about a community school.

Attendees

52 people attended the meeting and filled out the sign-in sheet

Among this group:

  • 11 lived in East Harriet and 41 lived in Kingfield
  • 30 people lived north of 41st Street and 22 lived south of 41st Street
  • Schools reported: Burroughs, Lake Harriet, Barton Open, Kenny, Emerson, Blake, Armatage, and none/not in school yet

Discussion Notes

Welcome & Introductions

At 7:05 pm, Jenny Bordon welcomed the group and restated the purpose that, “tonight is an opportunity to connect with others who think they’ll go to the F2 community school.”

History of F2 & Community Schools

Jane Onsrud presented an enlarged poster-sized map of the south half of Minneapolis’ school attendance boundaries as found on Minneapolis Public Schools Website. She showed where the other “Open Areas” are and described how open areas do not have an assigned community school but have several choices. F2 has about 17 K-8 school choices that are available with busing/transportation.

Jane also briefly described that in the past (1980’s timeframe) a community school located in Kingfield was torn down after storm damage because enrollment was not high. This background led to a short overview of the history of F2.

Cathy McCarron shared with the group what happened about 10 years ago when the neighborhood actively sought a community school for F2 children. The area was called Open Area 38 in 2000 and we had about 500 elementary students. The community tried hard to have a community school assigned to the area. The result of numerous meetings among the community, District and Board was to extend a three-choice guarantee to our area and to redraw the 36th to 38th street blocks that were not in the attendance area, but were part of the neighborhood boundaries. The group interjected that the three-choice guarantee is not working and has created waiting lists and cases where families don’t receive any of their three choices for about the last five years.

Jane wrapped up the History overview with a short update on Changing School Options (CSO). She shared that the planning process became more known among F2 residents in February and shared timelines and milestones from the spring. On April 28th the District recommended, in its CSO plan, that F2 be assigned Lyndale School. She also shared that if you combine the F2 and Lyndale Area (D5) attendance areas for K-5 there are about 900 students and this does not include the 300 students attending Lyndale from “out of area,” meaning they do not live in the Lyndale neighborhood but attend the school. Capacity at Lyndale is about 600 at the high end. Audience questioned current Lyndale attendance and it was noted that 100 of the 400 current students live in the Lyndale attendance area and 300 do not. Though it is a community school, Lyndale area students receive busing to Jefferson, Armatage and some other schools. Nobody at the meeting knew why this is done.

The Board asked the District to revise the plan for our F2 area and several other concerns. It appears that working sessions will begin in July with a plan to be presented to the Board in September. The Board will vote on the plan in late Sept. after a month of public commentary.

Values & Dreams Small Group Exercise

Laura Thompson facilitated the small group activity. The attendees broke into approximately 10 groups based on where they were seated. Each group was asked to brainstorm and write down their values and dreams for a F2 community school. People were encouraged to include anything – from philosophical concepts to more concrete wishes. At the end of the evening, each person was given two stickers (colored dots) to indicate their first and second place votes for Values and Dreams. The results of this exercise are listed below.

Top Votes

F2 Top Values and Dreams

Scoring: two points for each 1st place sticker, 1 point for each 2nd place sticker

Community School Value

Number 1st Place Votes

Number of 2nd Place Votes

Total

Strong academics/college prep

15

2.5

32.5

School centrally located within attendance area

5.5

2.5

13.5

Economic & ethnic diversity

2.5

8.5

13.5

Community buy-in

3.5

6.5

13.5

Don’t split F2

4

6.5

10

Excellent staff

3.5

2

9

Room for all in attendance area

2

1.5

5.5

K8

2.5

.5

5.5

One community school assigned

1.5

2

5

All Values and Dreams (1st place votes, 2nd place votes)

Mpls Kids on site (0, 1)

Influence Curriculum & Staff (0,0)

Room for all in attendance area (2, 1.5)

School centrally located within attendance area (5.5, 2.5)

Strong academics/college prep (15, 2.5)

Don’t split F2 (4, 2)

One community school assigned (1.5, 2)

K8 (2.5, .5)

Economic & ethnic diversity (2.5, 8.5)

Active parental involvement (0,0)

P.E., Music & Arts (0, 3)

1/2 & Full day option for kindergarten (0,0)

Excellent staff (3.5, 2)

Appropriate start time (0,0)

Community buy-in (3.5, 6.5)

Sustainable/fit all of F2/keep supporting with money (0, 2)

Languages available (0,3)

Age appropriate homework (0,.5)

Good food in cafeteria (0,0)

Strong middle school curriculum (.5,0)

Great outcomes (more than test scores) (.5, 2)

Strong library & resources (0,1)

Open to use by community/part of community (1.5,0)

K-5 (0,0)

Strong community/arts partners (0,0)

Sports & other activities (0,0)

Nice playground (0,0)

Class sizes 15 & under

Special Ed & adaptive Ed (0,0)

Defined pathways to HS (0,0)

Safe & orderly classrooms (0,1)

Mini-choice is yours destination (0,1)

F2 plus D5 Lyndale or G3 Bryant (0,0)



Scenarios Large Group Exercise

Jenny Bordon facilitated the large group activity. Several plausible community school scenarios are thought to be under consideration at this time by the District as they run numbers and look to revise the portion of the CSO plan that impacts F2 by assigning elementary students a community school.

Flip charts noted a school’s location and current enrollment. On each sheet was space for writing down the pros, cons and any questions as the scenario presented affects F2. It was noted that each scenario will have pros and cons for both F2 students and others students in terms of “ripple effects.” Five scenarios were presented. The audience was asked whether they had additional scenarios to be added to the discussion – they didn’t have any additional scenarios.

At the end of the exercise, each attendee used two different stickers to indicate their first and second choice preference for the scenarios discussed. Results of that discussion are listed below along with a table tallying the votes.


F2 Top School Scenario

Scoring: two points for each 1st place sticker, 1 point for each 2nd place sticker

School Scenario

1st Place Votes

2nd Place Votes

Total

  • Lyndale K5/Anthony 6-8

0

0

0

  • Barton Community School K8

18.5

22

59

  • Ramsey Community School K8

3

8

14

  • Lyndale/Barton Paired Campus K8

24.5

13

62

  • Lyndale K5/Burroughs K5 Split F2

0

0

0


Discussion Detail


Scenario 1: Lyndale K5/Anthony 6-8 (F2 plus D5)

No votes

Pros

  • Lyndale neighborhood
  • Committed teachers & staff
  • New school would meet district diversity guidelines
  • Beautiful library
  • Draw Lyndale neighborhood back

Cons

  • K-5 plus 6-8 distance too far
  • Transportation money for Anthony
  • Logistics of siblings in two distant schools
  • Not in F2

Displaces Lyndale students

  • Not enough room for F2
  • Realign school program to new students
  • Lyndale PTO does not want full F2
  • Currently no Mpls Kids
  • Facility aesthetics
  • Not sustainable/no room


Questions For Scenario 1

  • Who stays?


Scenario 2: Barton Community School K8

Votes – 18.5 first place, 22 second place

Pros

  • Close open areas
  • Centrally located/reduces busing
  • Provides E-W and N-S integration (with G3)
  • One building
  • Open up mini-choice is yours spots in SW schools
  • Make room for community kids at other schools – LHCS, Burroughs
  • New staff & faculty (fresh start)
  • Community buy-in (neighbors choose it currently)
  • Moving the program could be a positive for the Open program and community

Cons

  • Disruption to families
  • Displaces Open program
  • One building
  • Open program at risk
  • Ripple effect to other schools
  • Inadequate facilities (lunchroom, science labs)
  • Rebuild staff & faculty
  • No green space
  • Harder to provide middle school curriculum with smaller enrollment


Questions For Scenario 2

  • Would it be K8?
  • Does F2 fit? With G3?
  • What is the high school pathway?


Scenario 3: Ramsey Community School K8

Votes – 3 first place, 8 second place

Pros

  • Beautiful facility
  • Could add space for mini-choice is yours program – ripple effect could be good
  • Close to HS
  • Big school – room to grow
  • Separate kids easily with space

Cons

  • Out of current attendance area
  • Huge school in one building
  • Big ripple effect for Tangletown (Burroughs, Kenny)
  • Displace current kids at Ramsey
  • Lots of busing
  • F2 plus Tangletwon doesn’t meet district’s diversity goals
  • Close to HS
  • Need to rebuild the library
  • Long-term plan for building – sustainable as community school?
  • Parent/staff issues (current)


Questions For Scenario 3

  • Just F2? Who else would they add?
  • With Tangletown?
  • Would they need to close a school in SW?
  • Long term plan for building?
  • Fresh start?
  • Fine arts focus?


Scenaro 4: Lyndale K3 – Barton 4-8 paired campus K8 community school (F2 plus D5)

Votes – 24.5, 13

Pros

  • Possibly reduces busing
  • Like split campus (like LHCS)
  • Moves Open
  • Retain special program
  • Most diverse option for F2 – 50/50
  • Room for Mpls Kids & ECFE
  • Sustainable – room for all in F2 area
  • Capacity and room for growth
  • More potential for community buy-in for D5 and F2

Cons

  • Moving Open program displaces families
  • Need the special programs at 2 schools
  • Not a true fresh start
  • D5/F2 doesn’t currently choose Lyndale
  • Lyndale PTO doesn’t like this idea (rejecting all change)
  • Same facility problems with Barton mentioned in Barton scenario

Questions For Scenario 4

  • None
  • Lyndale K5/Burroughs K5 split (north/south or east/west) (F2 dissolves)

Votes – none

Pros

  • Move boundaries around until everyone fits
  • Uses buildings to full capacity
  • Allows Lyndale slow change

Cons

  • Divides F2
  • Accentuate economic/racial issues that schools already have
  • Doesn’t meet diversity goals
  • No room
  • Harder to get community buy-in
  • People won’t choose community school (seems like this)
  • Potential of overcrowding – not sustainable
  • Inequitable
  • Lyndale programs would have to move to make room for F2

Questions For Scenario 5

  • How will it be divided?
  • Would you move Burroughs boundaries?
  • Where are kids going to go if they don’t like their choice?

Action Steps

Laura Thompson facilitated a discussion about action steps and helped the group identify tasks that they were willing to lead (or participate). The following tasks were identified and volunteer names were written down.


F2 Community School Meeting – Resident Action Steps

Person

Action

Karen B, Karin B

Write up meeting


Petition


Engagement & discussion between schools and F2 families


Direction to board

Jenny

Playdates – Wed MLK 4pm

Jane, Karen B, Liz, Mya, Randy, Liz Doyle

Represent F2 and speeches at public meetings

All

Talk to neighbors, talk to board, other elected officials

Bridget, Jenny, Karen B

Marketing the approved option


Neighborhood boards – engage & utilize

Rama, Meg, Jill?, Abbey

(Safely) Drive Your Kids to School Day

Beckie, Laura Wallace

Work with school with respect

Rama, Jenny

Another gathering/info sharing

All/Jeff

National Night Out – Aug 4 – lawn sign, connect with people


Adjourn

The meeting adjourned at 9:03 pm.