On Monday evening the Alpine Union School District Superintendent’s Advisory Task Force met at Alpine Elementary School to share ideas and address community concerns in a public forum.
Superintendent Rich Newman opened the evening by welcoming parents, teachers, school employees and involved community members to continue the discussion on current school district concerns that began as part of the Thoughtexchange program launched in September 2018.
“It was made loud and clear from our staff that we needed to capture all the ideas… and we launched Thoughtexchange,” Newman said in his introduction.
He emphasized that a wide scope had been applied when establishing criteria that could be looked to as factors that might influence future district decisions, including teacher salaries, teacher-administrator ratios California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress scores, site costs, student demographics, long-term debt, and other factors.
Although the Thoughtexchange program is not limited to discussions on declining enrollment numbers throughout the school district the central topic of discussion last night was how to best address the fact that several schools in the district are not filled to 100% enrollment capacity.
The Monday meeting was dedicated to gathering and sharing ideas as the district considers potential changes to the enrollment structure of: Alpine Elementary School, Boulder Oaks Elementary School, Shadow Hills Elementary School and Joan MacQueen Middle School.
Newman said there are four options for changes to school site enrollment structure which are being considered. Three of the options pertain to local elementary and middle schools, with a fourth option for a high school that does not actively influence any decisions that might be made to local elementary and middle schools.
The proposals which are being considered Monday were: Consolidation of all students from Alpine Elementary and Boulder Oaks Elementary, use of Boulder Oak for grades 1-4 in the english-only program, use of Shadow Hills Elementary for grades 1-4 students in the dual-immersion program, use of Joan MacQueen Middle School for all students in grades 5-8; create K-5 programs at Alpine, Boulder Oaks and Shadow Hills elementary schools.
Meeting participants were invited by Newman to sit in groups and collect ideas on “sticky” notes so as to lessen the chances of any idea slipping through the cracks or getting lost in the discussion.
One topic that was repeatedly discussed in multiple groups of attendees was concern over the possible closure of Alpine elementary.
A suggestion that was evidently backed by several supporters was the possibility of bringing a visual and performing arts emphasis to the school in an effort to potentially boost enrollment numbers.
“Basically, we want to keep our elementary school. It is a part of the community and bringing in an arts program could seriously increase enrollment numbers. I understand the need to increase enrollment with a new program. When they implemented the immersion program at Shadow Hills, it did great things. I would love to see an arts program do similar things here at Alpine Elementary School,” said Kellie Russell.
Future forums are scheduled for:
Mar. 5, 2019, 6 p.m. at Joan MacQueen Middle School in the library.
Mar. 6, 2019, 6 p.m. at Creekside Early Learning in the multipurpose room.
Mar. 7, 2019, 6 p.m. at Boulder Oaks Elementary School in the auditorium.