MPS Comprehensive District Design Update #3
Thursday, December 26, 2019 9:30 AM

It’s the third edition of the Comprehensive District Design (CDD) Digest! While we originally hoped to produce videos each week with updates, they will happen roughly every two weeks. Every child deserves a well-rounded education, and the CDD is a chance to get MPS closer to providing that.

Last digest:

We shared information about the second part of the boundary study, which included placement of magnet schools. 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. Magnet schools draw students from across the district to promote racial and economic integration.

We also talked about the CDD process and how it breaks down into: Study à Model à Proposal à New MPS that provides a well-rounded education for all students.

What’s new:

Key point: School district leaders presented the second part of the boundary study to the Board of Education, which placed magnet schools into the study and looked at which grades are taught at each school. Overall, the study showed the possibility of more equitable programming at all schools, better transportation experiences, and increased racial and economic integration.

More info: When placing magnet schools into the study, leaders focused on centralizing their location for better access, reducing the number of themes to improve quality, and reducing the total number of magnets to save money and resources that could be reinvested in magnet schools. Because MPS cannot consistently provide a well-rounded education in middle school, schools were studied only as K-5 or 6-8—there were no K-8 schools. Currently, the middle-school experience, access to programming and electives vary widely across both 6-8 and K-8 schools.

People have big emotions when looking at this study, and that’s understandable. The possibility of change can be difficult, especially if it directly affects your family. What we have to realize, though, is many of our families—especially white, middle-to-upper income families—have access to a lot of great school options both inside and outside of MPS for their children.

Some of our families, however, start with access to very few good school options. They don’t have the same level of programming, the climate and culture of schools they are eligible to attend might need improvement, and access to effective teachers can be limited. This is what the CDD hopes to fix, at least in part. No change will be perfect or address every barrier these families face, but there are steps we can take to make things better.

Data from this part of the study shows the number of racially identifiable schools and high-poverty schools in MPS could be cut in half. It also shows the potential for smaller class sizes, shorter walk zones in some neighborhoods, and more access to programming for students.

What’s coming up:

Winter break! We hope you enjoy the time off. During this time, district leaders will use all of the CDD studies to create a model of school boundaries, magnets and school configurations. That model will be presented at the Jan. 28 Committee of the Whole meeting. While the information will be online before the meeting, we encourage everyone to wait until it has been presented before making assumptions or judgments.

Listening and information sessions about the model have been scheduled for January and February. A CDD values survey will also be available in January.

How you can stay engaged:

You can provide public comment at the Jan. 14 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.

Pick a date to attend a districtwide listening and information session and learn as much as you can about the CDD, including the academic plan. Visit the CDD website, talk to your school principal, watch and share the CDD Digest videos.

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.

Once again, thanks for staying engaged and working with us to make sure MPS provides a well-rounded education for all students.