|To the Friends of St. Andrews District 10:
West Ashley middle schools will host a school choice information meeting this evening at 6:30 in the West Ashley High School auditorium. All parents from our constituent district with 6th, 7th, and 8th grade children are invited to attend! See the article from this morning's Post & Courier, appended below, for more information.
for the D10 Board
Students getting choice of schools
Middle-schoolers to decide based on interest
By Diette Courrégé
The Post and Courier
Thursday, June 19, 2008
West Ashley middle school students will be able to choose their school this fall based on their interests. The West Ashley constituent school board has unanimously endorsed a plan that will enable its middle school students, regardless of where they live, to attend whichever school they want, either West Ashley or St. Andrew's middle schools. It's the first constituent school district in the county to use flexibility in allowing students to select a school.
School officials hope the change will encourage private school parents and children to return to public schools as well as increase parental involvement and enthusiasm among students for their middle school experience. "Schools can only be enhanced when students and parents are where they want to be and they have a voice," said Patricia Yandle, the district's associate superintendent who oversees middle schools. "We just want to give people a choice."
The West Ashley middle schools are a step ahead of what 11 other schools from across the county are attempting to do. A major initiative of schools Superintendent Nancy McGinley is to transform neighborhood schools into magnet-like schools that have specific themes and that are open to students from across the county. The 11 other schools are slated to change their format by the start of the 2009 school year.
The West Ashley middle schools will keep the same attendance zones but open up additional spots for students zoned to attend other West Ashley schools. So far, each school has had about 30 applications from students who live outside its attendance zone, and each school has plenty of space remaining to accept more students, Yandle said. The only other West Ashley middle school, C.E. Williams, is a magnet school that has a separate admissions policy and lottery for West Ashley students.
The district will be paying nearly $29,000 more next year to provide bus transportation for those students who attend a West Ashley middle schools outside their attendance zone. Neither school will receive additional money, but both principals planned their new offerings knowing they likely would not get more money, Yandle said.
St. Andrew's Middle School will have a math focus, with sixth-graders choosing from banking or statistics, seventh- graders choosing from accounting or marketing and eighth-graders choosing from geographic or engineering design. The school also will continue to offer single- gender classes in its core academic subjects such as English and science.
West Ashley Middle School will have a communication and technology focus. Sixth-grade students could take courses such as keyboarding or computer business application, and seventh- and eighth- graders would chose a technology or communication major in areas such as journalism, marketing or creative writing.
West Ashley Middle also will have a voluntary extended school day with fitness and computer classes before school and intramural sports and tutoring after school. Princi-pal Jennifer Coker said that the school's current students are excited about the changes and that she hopes their lessons will connect them to real world experience. "There's something for everybody, no matter which school you chose," she said.
Reach Diette Courrégé at 937-5546 or dcourrege@ postandcourier.com