School changes for 2013-2014
School changes for 2013-2014
By Marie Carrie firstname.lastname@example.org
In what District 5 school board member Dr. Rosalind Osgood is calling a “bold leadership decision,” several schools in our area will be closed or repurposed for the 2013-2014 school year.
Chief among these changes is the repurposing of Arthur Ashe Middle School and the reorganization of Dillard High School into a 6-12 Digital Learning Complex (DLC).
Arthur Ashe will become an Adult Workforce and Community Center. Students currently attending will be divided out amongst four neighboring schools: Parkway Middle, Sunrise Middle, William Dandy Middle, and Dillard 6-12 DLC.
Final approval of these changes took place at the school board zoning meeting on Wednesday, May 8th at Plantation High School.
In addition to the repurposing of Arthur Ashe, Dillard High will become home to middle school students grades 6-8. The school is developing a new entrepreneur magnet for the middle school program. Students currently residing within the Dillard High boundary will be assigned to the new Dillard 6-12 DLC.
Dillard High will not be the only new combination school serving Broward County students. Lauderhill Middle will be repurposed into the Broward College 6-12 Laboratory School at Lauderhill.
While current Lauderhill Middle students living within the school boundary will be assigned to the new lab school; 9th-12th grade students living within the same boundary will only be given priority to attend if they meet criteria.
The school board changes that brought the most public outcry at the zoning meeting pertained to District 5 elementary schools.
Lauderdale Manors Elementary will be repurposed into a three-year old pre-kindergarten program and community resource center.
Students currently attending Lauderdale Manors will be reassigned to several elementary schools based on the grade level of the child for the 2013-2014 school year.
PreK-3rd grade students at Lauderdale Manors will attend the new Sunland Park Early Learning Center (formerly Sunland Park Elementary School).
Fourth and fifth grade students at both Lauderdale Manors and Sunland Park will be reassigned to several elementary schools in the area: Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Walker Elementary and North Fork Elementary.
These changes bring about a major concern for parents in the community.
“Has there been a traffic study concerning the students that will be coming from Lauderdale Manors Elementary to Sunland Park to cross Sunrise Blvd?” These words expressed by Irvin, a concerned member of the community, capture the main concern of parents affected by the school board change.
The repurposing of Lauderdale Manors means that numerous preK-3rd grade students will now be required to cross a busy intersection daily to attend school.
While the school board responded with promises of crossing guards and assurances of safety. To quote Dr. Osgood, “We are not going to just send our babies off in the mornings to go cross big old Sunrise without any means in place to help them be safe.” It is to be noted that no official traffic studies have been done.
A traffic study is commissioned by the school board to ascertain the safety and traffic flow pattern of an area.
Depending on the findings, a school bus will be assigned to the area to transport students safely to school. As of right now, the law states that for students traveling under 2 miles, school board transportation is not required to be provided (unless hazardous conditions are present). Hence a traffic study on the area surrounding Sunrise Blvd. needs to be conducted in order for a school bus to be provided for students crossing Sunrise Blvd. to attend Sunland Park Early Learning Center.
In response to these concerns, another parent and community member, Newasannsutherland, eloquently stated to the board, “you guys keep saying ya’ll babies, but these are my children that’s going to be affected by the plans that you guys have for all children in the community.”
Ms. Newasannsutherland’s comments are particularly biting when one considers that out of 30 plus people in attendance at Wednesday’s board meeting, only two spoke out for measures affecting our com-munity.
While many may be bitter and angry over the decisions of the school board, let’s ask where have we been when the decisions were being made.
At the same board meeting, another community in Plantation was able to successfully remove wording from a board measure that would negatively impact their children in the future.
There were approximately 20 members of this community in attendance for a measure that would not even be discussed until the 2014-2015 school year.
It should be noted that there have been complaints that notifications of the school changes were not properly sent out to parents at the affected schools.
Broward County School District Director of School Boundaries Jill Young refutes this claim by stating, “All schools inform parents of the annual school boundary process to en-able parents to become involved and receive parent input.”
Young goes on to state that notifications of all zoning meetings appear in the Broward Miami Herald edition 30 days prior to the scheduled hearing.
Obviously, that is not good enough for reaching most of the student populations that constitute the majority of the students in the Broward County School District.
Despite these claims, parents and concerned citizens feel that the District should and could have done a better job of soliciting input from the community.
Willamaena, a parent in the 33311 zip code, summarizes it beautifully, “it appears that our district can say and do whatever they want because they have a legal right to do whatever they want to do to our children.”
If you want more information on the school board changes that affect our community, and you have access to a computer please visit:
Also, please note, any family impacted by the approved changes can apply for reassignment til June 15. Applications can be found on the Broward County Public Schools website.