Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Transitioning Spirit of Knowledge students

As you probably caught from today's paper, Spirit of Knowledge Charter School's board voted last night, 4-3, to surrender their charter and close the school.
As all but three of the students there are from Worcester, the majority of those students are our responsibility. We received an email from Superintendent Boone this morning which explained the transition plan for those students (note that they are in grades 7-12). I've included some of it below:
Originally, the parents would have received a letter from me on Monday welcoming them to WPS and sharing information about two open houses - one that was scheduled for last night at 6:30 pm and another that was planned for the afternoon of Thursday, October 31st. Friday, November 1st was planned to be a "jump start" day with students spending the day at the school they would attend to meet staff, finalize schedules, receive lockers, textbooks, etc. SOKCS promised that students would have available their current schedules and final first quarter report card to use during enrollment in WPS.  This is a good time for transition because our new grading quarter begins Monday, November 4th.

We will be working today to develop a new schedule for transition.  Additionally, we will have to work to notify parents since the school's closure means hand delivery of the letter to parents may not be possible. We have received the student enrollment information and will try to create a group in CONNECT ED to reach the parents by phone.  Two things impact a transition schedule that begins in the middle of the week - Halloween is tomorrow and holding an evening meeting will be virtually impossible as many of the staff who have been tapped to support the meetings have plans for their families and many who prefer to be at home that night.  The second issue focuses on holding an open house on Friday evening and the conflict wtih high school football games where principals and assistant principals are generally in attendance.  We have already identified the following core staff to support the open houses:  principals, assistant principals, guidance counselors, school adjustment counselors, DAB staff from ELL, special education and the curriculum liaisons.  A separate session for seniors is planned during the open house due to their very specialized needs siince the senior year has started.

This is a most unfortunate situation for the students and families at SOKCS.  Marco and I have met with principals twice to ensure that the transition occurs as seamlessly as possible.  John Hennessey is completing an analysis of bus routes, based on student addresses, to determine if any route adjustments will be required.  It is our hope to have students sitting in WPS classes by the middle of next week. Should any parents show up at our schools seeking enrollment prior to the open house, principals will welcome them and facilitate their enrollment and have them ready for classes as soon as possible.
And those students, all as students who come to us in the Worcester Public Schools, are most welcome. We will do our very best for and by them.

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