The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district held a family input session on Monday to discuss the modification of Glenwood Elementary School’s reassignment policy.
In June 2019, the CHCCS Board of Education approved the Glenwood Magnet Implementation Committee’s plan of student enrollment. This means starting in the 2020-2021 school year, new students can enroll in the school if they live in the base assignment zone or are selected in a lottery process.
To enter the traditional dual-language track, for example, the lottery process could rank students by their “priority levels.” Students already in the school would have the highest priority and be grandfathered in. Other factors that would raise a student's priority level include sibling relationships and socioeconomic disparities in certain zones.
Patrick Abele, assistant superintendent for CHCCS, said the priority levels are not official because the Board has not approved the proposal yet.
He said an enrollment cap of date and number of students is an option in the proposal, but besides the cap, class size also influences the school’s enrollment.
“We’d have a date that we say that we’re capping the school as of this date," Abele said. "But we also have to look at the numbers and the clarification with what the class size legislation has done in that point of time, etc..”
Jeff Nash, executive director for community relations at CHCCS, said the district needs to reduce the number of students in classes because state legislation sets a cap at 24.
“Because of the legislation that reduced class size, and because we have only two traditional classroom spaces per traditional grade level, we have to limit the number of students to meet the requirements,” Nash said.
Heather Craig, a parent who attended the session, said she agrees with the cap.
“Capping Glenwood next year as an option makes a lot of sense and might make sense to a lot of other people,” she said.
However, she said she was worried many parents don’t know about this option.
“Was this meeting and last meeting disseminated to the entire district or just Glenwood?” she asked. “I feel like this is something that kind of affects other people, and maybe input at a wider-base level would’ve been appropriate.”
Abele responded that the different options were discussed in the Board meeting last Thursday, and the district staff will collect more public input once their plan is reviewed during the Board’s work session on Nov. 7. Staff have also sent out over 400 postcards to families in the district, said Catherine Mau, coordinator of student enrollment at CHCCS.
Mau said although the staff drafted a proposal, the district is still uncertain how big the population of the zone will be.
“With the zone being very apartment-heavy for Glenwood, and leases start here Sept. 1 or the end of August, we just don’t know who is going to arrive,” Mau said.
In response to the problem, the district is working on a survey that estimates the number of incoming kindergarten students.
Abele said the number of uncertainties has made the planning process complicated, but they are “monitoring constantly.”
A family input session will be held on Monday, Nov. 4, at 6:30 p.m. in the Glenwood Elementary School Media Center, and feedback for the plan can be sent to email@example.com.
“This really is a four or five-year process until grandfathered students move through, other students get assigned," Abele said. "And it starts to map out with either zoned or non-zoned students. It's not something that's going to show up overnight.”