Comprehensive District Design Digest: Everything you need to know this week!
Friday, December 6, 2019 7:50 PM

FROM MSP DISTRICT:

It’s the second edition of the Comprehensive District Design (CDD) Digest! Last week we started with a video, and starting this week we’ll also have an email recap to accompany the video. As a reminder, each week the CDD Digest will talk about what’s new, what’s coming up, and how you can stay engaged. You can watch this week's video on our website.

Last week:

We shared information about why the CDD is important. We also discussed a boundary study that shows how MPS could increase student integration while having students attend their community schools (as requested by the Board). Finally, we explained a study of challenges families face understanding and using our student enrollment and placement system. You can learn more about those studies on our website.

 

What’s new:

This week, school district leaders met to complete the second part of the boundary study, which includes adding magnet schools and citywide special education programs. Magnet schools’ main purpose is to draw students from across the district to promote racial and economic integration. These schools often have a specific theme—such as arts, STEM, or language immersion—that students and families want to be a focus of their education.

The goals for magnets in this study are to:

  • Increase racial and economic integration
  • Be available to more students by being centrally located
  • Make sure themes reflect what we’ve heard people want
  • Make sure students at all grades receive a well-rounded education
  • Reduce bus routes and transportation expenses

 

All of the CDD studies, including the boundary study and student enrollment/placement study, will help create a model of what MPS could look like in the future. The community will be able to provide feedback on them throughout January and February. Based on data, community feedback, and their experience, district leaders will then present a proposal to the Board of Education in March for a vote in April. Once the Board approves a CDD proposal, MPS leaders, staff, families and community will work together on a plan for how to make it a reality over several years.

 

To put it more simply, the CDD can be broken down like this: Study à Model à Proposal à New MPS that provides a well-rounded education for all students.

 

What’s coming up:

There is a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 5:30 p.m. A schedule of public listening sessions for the CDD throughout January and February will be discussed.

 

MPS will also discuss the Pro Forma budget at this meeting, which is a fancy way of saying what we expect the budget to look like and what we plan to prioritize. Right now, the 2020-21 budget shows a $19 million budget gap. This is because the federal and state government still do not fully fund education, especially for students receiving SPED and EL services, and because the district’s basic infrastructure—the programs, classrooms, transportation, services and staffing levels we offer—costs more than we can afford. Over the course of the next five years, if we keep operating at the levels we now operate, that gap could grow to nearly $72 million.

 

The proposed magnet placement into the boundary study will be presented to the Board of Education on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. at their Committee of the Whole meeting. Information regarding the study will be available online beginning Monday, Dec. 9, but we recommend waiting for the public presentation before making assumptions or drawing any conclusions. Next week’s CDD Digest will also break down what was presented.

 

Originally, a survey about what people value for their children’s education was going to be sent this month. That survey has been moved to January.

 

How you can stay engaged:

 

  • You can provide public comment at the Dec. 10 Board meeting. While you are welcome to speak about anything, what’s most helpful to Board Directors and MPS leadership is to hear what your value in your child’s education, what you want for all students in MPS, and how you think we can get there.
  • Learn as much as you can about the CDD. Visit the CDD website, talk to your school principal, watch and share the CDD Digest videos. When the district begins engagement in January and February, the focus will be listening to people’s thoughts on the models presented. While there will be a short introductory video explaining the CDD at the listening sessions, there will not be significant time spent on what it is or why it is necessary.
  • Give feedback on the CDD on our website. We read every message and share them district leaders. You can also submit a question or topic you’d like covered in a future CDD Digest.

That’s it (and way too much) for this week! Thanks for staying engaged and working with us to make sure MPS provides a well-rounded education for all students.