Optimizing for Equity FAQs

  • Optimizing for Equity

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    Van Winkle Pre-K Expansion

    1. Why was Van Winkle selected for the expansion of pre-kindergarten?

    Van Winkle is an ideal site for pre-kindergarten expansion, given its physical layout in Montessori "pods" and accessible restrooms that meet state Pre-K guidelines without retrofitting. Additionally, it will allow the district to expand pre-kindergarten access to families in South and West Jackson.

    2. What part of the city will this Pre-K Program serve? What about students who live in north Jackson? Can students from all over the city attend this one location for Pre-K?

    This program will serve all scholars south of Capitol Street and west of Interstate 220. This includes all elementary schools within the Provine, Jim Hill, Forest Hill, and Wingfield high school feeder patterns. The Van Winkle site is not intended to take the place of those elementary sites that currently serve Pre-K scholars.

    If there is not a Pre-K at a north Jackson area school, McWillie may be an option as we are also expanding Pre-K classrooms there.

    3. How will these plans impact class size?

    The Pre-K classes have a maximum of 20 students per class.

    4. Will bus transportation be provided?

    Bus transportation will be provided for all scholars who reside in the city of Jackson.

    5. How will transfers and recruitment be handled for qualified Pre-K teachers?

    Teachers who are interested in Pre-K teaching positions will need to have the qualifications and apply for vacant positions. Teachers must have a 153 (Pre-K/K) licensure endorsement to teach pre-kindergarten. If a teacher has a 116 (K-3) or a 152 (K-4) licensure endorsement, the teacher must also have 12 hours of early childhood course credit or take the Praxis 5024 to add the 153 endorsement. Special Education licensed teachers who want to teach general education pre-kindergarten must have at least nine hours in early childhood education.

    To review other endorsement pathways, please download the Mississippi Department of Education's Teacher Credentialing Pathways (PDF).

    6. How will staffing be impacted?

    Qualified JPS employees who are interested in Pre-K may choose to remain at Van Winkle. Other teachers and staff will receive prioritized support in securing placement in other district schools. 

    7. What are the enrollment requirements?

    Students must reside in the city and be four years old by September 1.

    8. Where will students attend school who are zoned for Van Winkle but are over Pre-K age?

    Van Winkle students in grades K-5 will be rezoned to Bates and Clausell Elementary Schools. Families may also wish to apply for entry into a special program school, such as Casey Elementary (Arts Access), Barack Obama Magnet (IB), or Power APAC. There will be a second regular deadline admission process in January for applications to these programs.

    9. What are my options for other JPS schools?

    Van Winkle families may also wish to apply for entry into a special program school. Elementary special program schools include Casey (Arts), Barack Obama Magnet (IB), and Power APAC. There will be a second regular admission process in January for applications to these programs.

    10. Will there be a need for increased staffing at Bates? If so, how will this be handled?

    Yes. Bates Elementary will be staffed using our district-wide processes and formulas, which are driven by enrollment and student needs. Van Winkle teachers will be given first priority for transfers to Bates Elementary. 

    11. What will happen to the English Learner Program? Will it also be relocated?

    The English Learner Program will also be relocated to Bates Elementary. English Learner support staff will continue to support our students at Bates.

    12. What will happen to Pre-K programs at other schools in south Jackson?

    Existing Pre-K programs in south Jackson will remain in place. Only developmentally delayed kindergarten classrooms will be transferred to Van Winkle.

    13. Who will be the administrator at Van Winkle?

    A decision has not been made on who will lead the Van Winkle Pre-K Center for the 2020-2021 school year.

    14. Are there any Pre-K students at the schools located in the Lanier feeder pattern? What will happen to them?

    The Pre-K students in the Lanier feeder pattern will continue to be served by their neighborhood schools. The Pre-K programs at those schools will not be moved.

    15. What will be the student-teacher ratio at Van Winkle for Pre-K?

    The ratio will be up to a maximum of 20 students to 1 teacher and 1 assistant teacher.

    16. Will the school day end earlier at Van Winkle?

    The school day will not end earlier at Van Winkle. The hours will be the same as other elementary schools—beginning at 7:45 a.m. and ending at 2:15 p.m.


    McWillie Pre-K Expansion

    1. What is the purpose of the Pre-K expansion at McWillie Elementary?

    The purpose of this expansion is to increase the number of Pre-K seats in north Jackson and ensure that all scholars have high-quality educational experiences that set them up for great success in kindergarten and beyond.

    2. Why are we ending the sixth-grade Montessori Program? 

    We've seen a decline in upper-grade enrollment at McWillie over time, especially for the sixth-grade. Parents are choosing other programs for their scholars. This includes middle school programs, especially since they start in sixth grade. We believe that sixth graders are better served in middle school with expanded course offerings and other experiences.  

    3. How does the District benefit from removing the sixth-grade class at McWillie?

    There is low enrollment in sixth-grade; therefore resources and curriculum will not need to be purchased for a small number of students.

    4. Was an expansion of the Montessori Program through middle school considered?

    No, the expansion of the Montessori Program through middle school was not considered at this time due to the small enrollment in the 9-12 program, especially at grade 6.

    5. How will the Montessori Program be affected?

    We are committed to maintaining and enhancing our Montessori Program to ensure scholar success.

    6. How many Pre-K students will be added based on building/classroom capacity?

    Approximately 80 Pre-K seats will be added at McWillie.

    7. How will these plans impact class sizes?

    The Pre-K classes at McWillie will have a maximum of 20 students per class. Class size in other classrooms will not be impacted.

    8. Will the new Pre-K sections at McWillie be Montessori classrooms?

    No, the expanded classes will be traditional pre-kindergarten.

    9. What about Pre-K3 classes?

    Pre-K3 classes will continue in the Montessori Program.

    10. Will transportation be provided to students in the expanded Pre-K Program at McWillie?

    Yes. JPS transportation will be provided to students in the expanded Pre-K at McWillie.

    11. How will this move affect staffing?

    Current McWillie kindergarten teachers will be given the first priority to continue teaching in the new pre-kindergarten classes.

    12. Will there be an additional administrator assigned to Boyd Elementary?

    There are no plans to employ an additional administrator at Boyd Elementary.


    Barr Elementary

    1. Why are we closing a B-rated school? What is the purpose of the closure?

    Declining enrollment and facility issues led to the decision to close Barr. Pecan Park is an A-rated school.

    2. What will the District gain financially?

    Consolidating will reduce the funding needed to improve the building. The District will also save money on additional staff and other resources.

    3. Where will students be moved?

    Students will be moved to Pecan Park Elementary School.

    4. What is the consistency of the learning process between Barr and Pecan Park?

    Pecan Park is an A-rated school by the Mississippi Department of Education and will provide Barr scholars the same level of rigor they are accustomed to. Additionally, the District adopted consistent English Language Arts and Mathematics curricula in the fall so that students will be familiar with both core programs (Wit and Wisdom and Ready Math).

    5. What impact will these changes have on class size at Pecan Park?

    Class sizes will be impacted by the proposed changes but will not exceed state standards. Class sizes may not exceed 27 students to 1 teacher in the upper elementary grades.

    6. Can the District provide opportunities for the students at Barr to interact with their new classmates at Pecan Park (field trips, shared Field Day, etc.)?

    The District will work to facilitate opportunities for the students at Barr and Pecan Park to interact during the spring semester. Additionally, Barr parents are encouraged to visit Pecan Park and meet with the principal.

    7. Will parents have a choice about where their children can attend school in the District?

    Barr students in grades Pre-K-5 will be rezoned to Pecan Park Elementary. Barr families may also wish to apply for entry into a special program school. Elementary special program schools include Casey (Arts), Barack Obama Magnet (IB), and Power APAC. There will be a second regular admission process in January for applications to these programs.

    8. Will special provisions be made for Barr parents who want to apply for special programs?

    Special program applications will reopen for this reason. Barr families will be eligible for the regular admission deadline to special program schools in mid-January.

    9. What will happen to staff at the school?

    Current Barr faculty and staff will be transferred to other schools where vacancies exist.

    10. What will happen to the school's principal?

    The school's principal will possibly be transferred to another school where a leadership vacancy exists.

    11. Will Barr personnel be transferred to Pecan Park?

    Barr personnel will have the option of seeking a transfer to Pecan Park. As professionals, they will also have opportunities to seek other positions within the District. The Human Resources Department will prepare a biweekly newsletter publishing available vacancies and open the transfer period for teachers from January 6-17, 2020.

    12. What are the facility challenges at Barr?

    The basement of the school continues to flood, and the investment in repairs is not worthwhile. In prior years, the cafeteria was located in the basement but, due to flooding, is no longer operable, and meals are delivered from Forest Hill High School. The facility still utilizes window-installed air conditioning units. Replacing the centralized air conditioning system and rehabbing the basement would be costly. Though $310,000 has been allocated for bond repairs to the Barr Elementary school building, none of these funds have yet been expended. Barr is a Phase III school, meaning the work was scheduled to be completed in year three of the 2018 Bond Construction Program.

    13. With the redevelopment of the Jackson Zoo and the West Jackson community, has any consideration been given by the District to keep Barr open to help stabilize the area as revitalization continues?

    The population of households with school-aged children in the area continues to decline, which has a direct impact on student enrollment.

    14. Will transportation be provided to out-of-district students?

    No. Currently, the District does not provide transportation to families of students who attend JPS schools on the District-to-District Transfer. (Please refer to Policy JBG.)

    15. What is the impact of charter schools on declining enrollment in JPS?

    Public charter schools give Jackson area families an additional option on how they want to educate their children. At Jackson Public Schools, our goal is to provide our scholars with an excellent educational experience so that it will be the first choice of parents and families.

    Loss of enrollment to charter schools accounts for roughly a quarter of the most recent enrollment loss. The largest driver of lost enrollment is population mobility out of the City of Jackson and into the surrounding Metro area.

    16. What about overcrowding as the result of closing and consolidating schools? Will this affect teacher morale due to being overworked and underpaid. Will closing and consolidating schools cause a decline in student achievement?

    Overcrowding is not an issue in the impacted schools. Each of the schools in this plan has been under-enrolled for many years and do not have large class sizes. Barr Elementary School is severely under-enrolled (163 students) and has been for over a decade. It also has serious facilities issues that will be costly to repair. Hardy’s principal Dr. Griffin has spoken compellingly about the safety challenges of managing a severely under-enrolled building where students must be kept off unoccupied hallways/spaces. Hardy has fewer than 400 scholars but was built to educate 1,000. We are committed not to overcrowd.

    Also, our teachers received a pay increase at the start of this school year, and we hosted our state legislative leaders to talk about the agenda for additional increases. We are working relentlessly to improve outcomes for our scholars. Last year, we increased our accountability rating one letter grade (30 points shy of grade C). We are on the move and will not languish at the bottom because of the incredible support of our educators, families, and community.

    17. Why close so many schools to crowd the receiving schools?

    In each case, students in closing buildings will be going to more newly renovated facilities. This is about ensuring that each child is in a building with proper and functional heating, cooling, roofing and other amenities that they deserve. Overcrowding is not an issue in these identified schools, and the plan will not create it as there are several underutilized/unoccupied classrooms in each space. 

    18. What are the plans for the Barr school building? Will it remain vacant?

    The superintendent plans to assemble a taskforce for recommendations for possible uses of our vacant buildings. Some nonprofit organizations have expressed interest but no decision has been made as of yet.


    Hardy-Blackburn Middle Programs

    1. What is the current student population at Hardy Middle School?

    The current student population at Hardy Middle School is 382. The student population at Blackburn is 369.

    2. What is the projected student population at Blackburn Middle School after consolidation with Hardy?

    The projected student population is 750.

    3. How will athletics be impacted at Hardy and Blackburn?

    All students who are eligible to participate in athletics will be able to do so at the newly combined site.

    4. How will staffing be impacted at Hardy and Blackburn?

    The appropriate staff-student ratio will be maintained at the consolidated school for the combined population.

    5. How will the administration be impacted at Hardy and Blackburn?

    There will be one lead principal, and the number of assistant principals will be determined based on the District's formula for assigning assistant principals to schools.

    6. What will happen to classified employees if positions are not available?

    Classified staff members impacted by changes are encouraged to apply for vacancies throughout the District. The Child Nutrition, Facilities and Operations, and Campus Enforcement departments are presently working to offer reassignments to vacancies, pending availability and an average to favorable performance history.

    7. What will happen to classified interventionists and academic tutors?

    Staff members impacted by changes are encouraged to apply for vacancies throughout the District.

    8. How will the selection of coaches work between the consolidated middle schools?

    Once the administrative team for the consolidated school is named, they will begin conducting an interview process to select staff based on the model staffing plan.

    9. Will the student-teacher ratio increase at Blackburn after the consolidation?

    A slight increase in the student-teacher ratio at Blackburn is anticipated after optimization is completed.

    10. Will there be a new name for the consolidated school?

    No. Blackburn will keep its current name, and Hardy will become the Hardy Athletic Complex.

    11. How will the Hardy Middle School building be repurposed?

    Hardy will be transformed into an athletic complex.

    12. What is the current physical condition of the Hardy school building?

    While Hardy is in fair condition, it is still using its original heating and cooling units which are prone to challenges. The proposed consolidation with Blackburn will allow Hardy students to attend school in a stronger and newer school facility.

    13. In what school year is this change expected to take place?

    This change is expected to take place in fall 2020.

    14. What about overcrowding as the result of closing and consolidating schools? Will this affect teacher morale due to being overworked and underpaid. Will closing and consolidating schools cause a decline in student achievement?

    Overcrowding is not an issue in the impacted schools. Each of the schools in this plan has been under-enrolled for many years and do not have large class sizes. Barr Elementary School is severely under-enrolled (163 students) and has been for over a decade. It also has serious facilities issues that will be costly to repair. Hardy’s principal Dr. Griffin has spoken compellingly about the safety challenges of managing a severely under-enrolled building where students must be kept off unoccupied hallways/spaces. Hardy has fewer than 400 scholars but was built to educate 1,000. We are committed not to overcrowd.

    Also, our teachers received a pay increase at the start of this school year, and we hosted our state legislative leaders to talk about the agenda for additional increases. We are working relentlessly to improve outcomes for our scholars. Last year, we increased our accountability rating one letter grade (30 points shy of grade C). We are on the move and will not languish at the bottom because of the incredible support of our educators, families, and community.

    15. Why close so many schools to crowd the receiving schools?

    In each case, students in closing buildings will be going to more newly renovated facilities. This is about ensuring that each child is in a building with proper and functional heating, cooling, roofing and other amenities that they deserve. Overcrowding is not an issue in these identified schools, and the plan will not create it as there are several underutilized/unoccupied classrooms in each space. 


    Siwell-Cardozo Middle Programs

    1. What is the rationale for the consolidation?

    The administration is proposing this consolidation to give students greater access to elective offerings at an enhanced school facility. The current Siwell school building has challenges with its HVAC system which is in need of costly repairs. Cardozo Middle School is one of our newer school buildings.

    2. What is the current student population at Siwell?

    The current population of Siwell is 406 students.

    3. What is the projected student population at Cardozo after the consolidation with Siwell?

    The projected enrollment for the consolidated middle school is approximately 750 students.

    4. How will athletics be impacted at Siwell and Cardozo?

    Athletics will be strengthened at the consolidated middle school as the teams will draw on a larger student talent pool.

    5. How will staffing be impacted at Siwell and Cardozo?

    The school staff and faculty will also be consolidated to support the new combined enrollment. Staff members may also be eligible for a transfer to another JPS school where there is a vacancy.

    6. How will the administration be impacted at Siwell and Cardozo?

    There will be one lead principal, and the number of assistant principals will be determined based on the District's formula for assigning assistant principals to schools.

    7. Will the student-teacher ratio increase at Cardozo Middle School after the consolidation?

    A slight increase in the student-teacher ratio at Cardozo is anticipated after optimization is completed.

    8. What about overcrowding as the result of closing and consolidating schools? Will this affect teacher morale due to being overworked and underpaid. Will closing and consolidating schools cause a decline in student achievement?

    Overcrowding is not an issue in the impacted schools. Each of the schools in this plan has been under-enrolled for many years and do not have large class sizes. Barr Elementary School is severely under-enrolled (163 students) and has been for over a decade. It also has serious facilities issues that will be costly to repair. Hardy’s principal Dr. Griffin has spoken compellingly about the safety challenges of managing a severely under-enrolled building where students must be kept off unoccupied hallways/spaces. Hardy has fewer than 400 scholars but was built to educate 1,000. We are committed not to overcrowd.

    Also, our teachers received a pay increase at the start of this school year, and we hosted our state legislative leaders to talk about the agenda for additional increases. We are working relentlessly to improve outcomes for our scholars. Last year, we increased our accountability rating one letter grade (30 points shy of grade C). We are on the move and will not languish at the bottom because of the incredible support of our educators, families, and community.

    9. Why close so many schools to crowd the receiving schools?

    In each case, students in closing buildings will be going to more newly renovated facilities. This is about ensuring that each child is in a building with proper and functional heating, cooling, roofing and other amenities that they deserve. Overcrowding is not an issue in these identified schools, and the plan will not create it as there are several underutilized/unoccupied classrooms in each space.

    10. What purpose is intended for Siwell's building?

    The superintendent plans to assemble a taskforce for recommendations for possible uses of our vacant buildings. Some nonprofit organizations have expressed interest but no decision has been made as of yet.

    11. Will any Siwell students finishing at Blackburn be required to attend Lanier, or will they have a choice of attending a south Jackson high school?

    Lanier is not currently a zone for Blackburn.  Students currently at Blackburn, based on their home address, will attend Jim Hill High School. The incoming students from Siwell who live north of Highway 80 West will attend Provine High School.


    Rowan/Office of Teaching & Learning

    1. What is the current physical condition of the Rowan school building?

    Rowan is in fair condition. The HVAC system needs to be replaced. The auditorium is also in need of repair. The school’s roof was replaced in 2016.

    2. What will it cost to redesign Rowan into a Teaching and Learning Center?

    Currently, $200,000 in bond construction funds have been allocated to Rowan. Additional funds will be identified from interest on the bond to support the renovation.

    3. How long will it take?

    The renovations at Rowan will occur during the 2020-2021 school year with a projected opening in fall 2021.

    4. How many employees will be relocated there?

    All Office of Teaching & Learning team members, currently 28 employees, will move from Central Office to Rowan. The building will house spaces for the delivery of professional development training sessions and workshops.

     

Last Modified Yesterday at 5:08 PM