Where IS the parent input? The discussion & the communication? It seems there is a huge disconnect and flex of one party rule.
We all know about the NPS website which excitedly announced the “LAUNCH” of Middle School Choice about a month ago, which suddenly detailed a BIG change for our local education community. The way things transpired were concerning to say the least. There is no doubt many parents would agree that Middle School is the weakest link within NPS but how does something like this get implemented and placed as a launch on the NPS website without community input? Well whatever the excuse after the fact, it happened and the way it happened was quite questionable.
We deserve discussion, we deserve answers and we deserve to have input in our children’s education in Norwalk.
The THREE MAJOR Concerns that many outlined were as follows…
- It clearly stated in the announcement, that your child is NOT guaranteed a spot in your neighborhood middle school. If a family wants their child to attend the middle school closest to their home, the student must rank the choice program at that school as their top choice on the application BUT they are not guaranteed the spot. After outcry, this changed. And I mean, outcry.
- Buses -most parents know that the current bus schedule even with our neighborhood schools is far from perfect, how can we expect to be potentially busing kids all over the city well outside their neighborhood? Buses are late as it is. What about after school activities and programs? If a parents schedule does not permit them to pick up their child from a school activity outside their neighborhood, how would these logistics work? Does the child then simply not attend or is the city going to implement funding for buses to travel kids all over the city?? NPS has previously stated that transportation is costly and they have had major budget issues surrounding it. During the meeting it was stated that we were already using two extra buses and possibly just one more would need to be added. If so, it was an additional $87,000? Apparently, to the BOE-that is a drop in the bucket. Because we do not have other pressing things that schools need.
- Social Emotional Impact-It is no secret that Covid protocols took a huge toll on students mental health and well being. Now incoming 6th graders who already are feeling the anxieties of beginning their middle school journey are potentially not in classes with familiar faces and friendship circles. The transition to middle school is already hard and all of these students have dealt with so much transition throughout their school tenure with covid, why are we adding to the disruption. With that, how can we expect 5th graders to choose their paths and fully understand the scopes of the programs offered to make decisions at age 11/12?
I am not saying that I am not for choice. If a parent and student decide that they want a choice outside of their neighborhood school district-they should in deed have that option. But we already do. The focus and priorities seem to be a miss and the communication is most definitely lacking.
I encourage our community to take a stand on being part of the conversation. Not just for parents but people invested in their community as stakeholders/taxpayers.
Submitted by: Jason Christopher