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Plymouth School Continue with Redistricting

December 12, 2011

12/13/11 The Plymouth School Corporation held a second meeting on Monday night concerning the redistricting necessary for the 2012-2013 school year. Dr. Jerome McKibben, McKibben Demographic Research, has been reviewing the data concerning enrollment for the entire Plymouth Schools.

To comply with federal mandates, school districts must maintain a balance of race/ethnicity, numbers of students who qualify for free and reduced services, and students who qualify for services due to placement in ELL classes for those with limited English speaking and/or writing skills.

The actual redistricting will affect the student population of each of the four elementary schools in the Plymouth system. Students in grades kindergarten through 4th grade attend one of the elementary schools and then all converge into Riverside Intermediate for grades 5-6.

The demographic study includes projections of students from private schools that are within the school district.

According to McKibben, 80 percent of students that will change schools are from Washington Elementary. Washington Elementary will be converted into the Discovery Academy for project-based learning. At an earlier meeting, McKibben said that 129 current students who reside within walking distance would be reassigned to Washington and the rest of the students would be assigned to other elementary schools. Enrollment for additional students at the Discovery Academy will be by application. The application process is open to any elementary student no matter where they live. The Discovery Academy can service 75 students per grade, according to current Washington Principal Michele Riise. The mix of students accepted would be based on a number of criteria including those used for determining

Superintendent Dan Tyree said, “We want Discovery Academy to mirror the demographics of the other schools.”

McKibben said that the population forecast is based on projections for the next ten years. He said the final maps should be ready by the end of January, 2012 and he will present them in February to the public.

The influx of students from out of the district has contributed to the imbalances at the elementary schools, according to McKibben. He said, “Five years ago my crystal ball didn’t show that the state legislators would have open enrollment.” Open enrollment allows students to attend schools out of their home districts. This school year, there are 105 students from other districts attending the Plymouth elementary schools.

According to Tyree, parents/guardians will be notified by mail if their child (children) will be moved to another school. He said the Corporation will still allow parents to preference to another school.

Carol Anders Correspondent