Update: Trustees respond favorably to school choice briefing

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Plans to open schools of choice next August appear to have the support of trustees who received a briefing on the effort Thursday. The report recapped the results of a school choice survey, revealed that 46 school teams have applied to offer choice programs, and identified five schools that are on track to launch personalized learning curriculums next school year.

Overall, trustees reacted favorably to the progress report that indicated broad public interest in expanding choice options. An ongoing interest survey has drawn nearly 4,000 responses reflecting a desire for a variety of choice programs.

Trustees expressed personal preferences for choice offerings such as dual language, open enrollment schools, and specialized schools co-located within existing schools. “I love the idea of a school dedicated to not just Spanish, but also Chinese and other important languages, including possibly computer code,” said Trustee Elizabeth Jones. Trustee Joyce Foreman said she is excited about the possibility that the next wave of transformation schools might give new life to campuses in her district that are now closed. Jones cautioned the administration to provide the necessary funding and staff so that students who begin choice programs at elementary school can continue their studies at middle and high school.

The discussion also revealed that schools in Improvement Required status based on student academic achievement are not eligible for choice programs, and that schools can add course options such as advanced placement or career courses without going the full choice application route.

Forty-six school teams that have expressed interest in becoming choice schools face a Jan. 30 deadline to submit proposals. The district’s goal is to open 35 such schools by 2020.

The original article and video on the school choice briefing is posted here.

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