UPDATE AFTER MEETING WITH APS STAFF - Elementary Planning Initiative Update: Nottingham Listed as Potential Option School
Elementary Planning Initiative Update:
Thank you to those who attended our PTA meeting this past Tuesday, sent emails, made calls and read and studied APS’s presentation, analysis and data.
This morning Douglas Hoffman, Regina Koehler, Simon Mouer, Stacey Stump and I met with the APS Planning and Evaluation Staff (Lisa Stengle, Robert Ruiz, Gladis Bourdouane, Kathy Mimberg “APS Staff”) at their office in the Syphax Building. Our meeting lasted for 90 minutes and a lot of information and ideas were exchanged.
We provided APS Staff an update from our PTA meeting (high percentage of walkers, safety and security, putting 400+ walkers onto buses, those who remain to walk to Tuckahoe/Discovery would not let their children walk due to increased traffic, most people choose their neighborhood school, etc.) Between the five of us, we went over their data with them; they saw and corrected errors.
APS Staff updated “Slide 40” in their presentation. Nottingham is now checked for one of the criteria (growth) and un-highlighted. However, they did not change the “total” column, which is still listed at three. I truly believe this was an oversight as they were quickly updating the slide.
Although Nottingham is now listed with only one of the four criteria, the five of us strongly feel that there will be an option school placed somewhere north of Lee Highway. It could be Nottingham, it could be another school. There are many, many moving parts.
We left the meeting understanding that the process is fluid and adaptable as APS staff meets with all stakeholders, principals and instructional staff. While this approach is important to obtain as much feedback as possible, it makes it quite challenging to know what items we, as a school community, should be challenging/questioning/arguing about.
At the beginning of this process, we all thought the main goal was to increase walkability and lower the number of buses – hence the utter surprise of Nottingham being considered. However, now that the analysis has started, it seems to us that capacity, and how to balance capacity among all schools, is the main goal. Staff is putting everything on the table and having a dialogue about their ideas.
APS staff had its first principals’ meeting yesterday about this topic. Connie Skelton was in attendance. Staff heard a lot of good ideas from principals and the impact on instruction. Staff is looking to principals to help shape the direction of this process. They will have another principals’ meeting on April 26.
I think the best course of action is to continue to demonstrate that Nottingham should remain a neighborhood school for the reasons contained in the presentation and discussed at our Tuesday PTA meeting – high number of walkers, low number of buses, and need for neighborhood seats in the NW portion of the county.
To that extent, Alison Dye put together the following petition https://chn.ge/2HCKeJl. Please sign and SHARE IT with your neighbors, preschool parents or anyone who wants to see Nottingham remain a neighborhood school.
I encourage you to attend APS staff “Open Office Hours” on Friday, April 20: 7:30-9:00am at the Education Center, 1426 N. Quincy or Saturday, April 21: 9:30-11:00am at Kenmore Middle School, as well as School Board Open Office Hours held on Mondays. Please sign-up here http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0F44A5AF2EA5F58-nottingham- the more faces the better.
In summary, although the presentation has been corrected, we cannot be complacent. Stay engaged and informed. The current information is https://www.apsva.us/elementary-school-boundary-change/location-review/
We will update you as soon as we learn of additional information, presentations and analyses.