Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Memorandum - Current status of Enrollment & Transfer policy & school boundary review process.


Date: August 28, 2014

To: Portland Council PTA, PPS PTA Leaders & Parent Advocates

From: Jon Isaacs, Chief of Communications & Public Affairs 
            Judy Brennan, Enrollment & Transfer Director

Subject: Current status of Enrollment & Transfer policy & school boundary review process.

In spring of 2013, the PPS Board of Directors directed the Superintendent to implement a review of both enrollment & transfer policy and school boundaries as part of resolution they approved following Jefferson Cluster enrollment balancing. Specifically, the board directed the Superintendent to:

Develop and recommend a process for a comprehensive review of school boundaries district wide and policies related to student assignment and transfer to better align with the Racial Educational Equity Policy and promote strong capture rates and academic programs at every grade level.

In order to meet these to directives the Superintendent and PPS staff took two actions-

1. Engaged the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Enrollment and Transfer (SACET) to review student assignment and transfer policies align with the Racial Educational Equity Policy.

2. Partnered with the PSU Center for Public Service and their team of experts who assist public agencies with taking on tough public policy challenges. The PSU team has been asked to assess PPS’ readiness to take on a district wide boundary review process, assist PPS with setting clear values, goals and issues, and recommend a process for a district wide review of school boundaries.

Work on Enrollment & Transfer and Boundary Review to Date
On June 2nd The PSU team delivered their first report to the PPS Board, which is attached for your reference and review. In this readiness assessment, which included interviews with over 20 community stakeholder organizations, the PSU Center for Public Service team recommended internal alignment phase to address several important but unanswered questions about the purpose and scope of a district-wide boundary review process. The report offered several options for conducting a process that could begin in the fall and would address long-term and short-term boundary issues. However, the report acknowledged that selecting the best process would depend in part on the outcome of the internal alignment phase. Additionally, on June 2nd, SACET delivered their first extensive report to the board including their first set of preliminary recommendations. The SACET report is also attached for your reference and review.

Since June 2nd, the PSU team has been working with all of PPS leadership on questions related to district-wide boundary review. They have heard, and continue to hear from board members, senior PPS staff, school administrators and educators l about the following questions:

1. What should the primary purpose of district wide boundary review be?

2. As you know, once we begin a conversation about boundary review, other inter-related issues start to come up. Do you have strong preferences about things that should, or should not, be included in district wide boundary review? (Moving or changing programs? School reconfigurations? Etc.?)
3. At what specific points in the process should you as a Board play a formal role in district- wide boundary review?

You can watch the July 7 alignment discussion the PSU team facilitated with the PSU Board of Directors here:

SACET has spent the summer doing listening sessions with historically underserved communities and looking at modeling to prepare their final recommendations. SACET also participate in a work session with the PSU team about boundary review and how it intersects with enrollment & transfer policies.

What comes next?
The PSU assessment team is now completing this work and will report back to the Superintendent in late September on the outcomes of their summer alignment work and make a recommendation for the process PPS should use to accomplish a district wide review of school boundaries. SACET will be delivering its final recommendations to the Superintendent for changes to enrollment & transfer policies in October. You can track SACET meetings on their website - http://www.pps.k12.or.us/departments/enrollment-transfer/6531.htm

At that time, The PPS staff will also make recommendations to the Superintendent and Board on urgent enrollment issues that need to be addressed by the 2015-16 school year.

If you have any questions about boundary or enrollment & transfer review or would like to meet with the staff to ask questions directly about this contact Jon Isaacs in the Community Involvement & Public Affairs office at jisaacs@pps.net or Judy Brennan, Enrollment & Transfer Director at jbrennan@pps.net

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