Elementary School Choice Option Ends

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Thursday February 12, 2015

School choice will no longer be an option for the district’s elementary students in the 2015-2016 school year, as reported at the February 5, 2015 school board meeting.

In August 2012, the Vermont Agency of Education identified Chamberlin and Orchard as schools in need of improvement, based upon student performance on state tests measuring Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Due to the stipulations of the No Child Left Behind Act, parents/guardians were given the option to transfer their children from Chamberlin and Orchard to Central School, which had achieved Adequate Yearly Progress.

During the first year, 2012-2013, possibly due to the short timing of the announcement of the transfer option, only 4 students moved to Central. In 2013-2014, the numbers were greater at 44 new school choice students plus the 4 from the previous year, bringing the total to 48. The number of new choice students declined for the the 2014-2015 school year when there were only 7 new students joining the 34 returning from the previous year, for a current total of 41.

Last summer, in August 2014, the Vermont Agency of Education identified Central School as a school in need of improvement, based upon student performance on the 2013 NECAP tests. No Child Left Behind legislation requires that all students are proficient in math and reading based on their NECAP test scores by 2014. School choice was still offered at Central School because this was the first year it did not make AYP.

The No Child Left Behind legislation has not changed for the 2015-2016 school year, with the continued requirement that students are proficient in math and reading. However, because Central School will be in its second year of not making AYP, school choice will no longer be offered. This means that students already attending Central School through school choice this year, may continue until they complete grade 5, however transportation will no longer be provided by the district for families living outside the Central School neighborhood. Since school choice is no longer an option, no new choice students will be accepted.

Parents/guardians were asked to submit documentation by February 13, 2015 stating whether they would like their child to continue to attend Central School for the 2015-2016 school year, or return to their neighborhood school. Having this information far in advance of the 2015-2016 school year will assist in planning purposes for families, and for the school district in terms of staffing and other resources. With the end of elementary school choice comes the return to regular neighborhood school zoning.

SOURCE:Corey Burdick,Correspondent