Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson today informed parents of Briarwood students that the district will not alter the attendance boundaries for the school to deal with overcrowding there. Instead, the district will discontinue the transfers into Briarwood of students who live outside the current Briarwood attendance area. Additionally, the school will no longer serve as the home of an English Language Learner Center. Hinson did not say in his message to parents where the ELL Center would be relocated. The full message from Hinson to parents is copied below:
Dear Parents of Briarwood Students,
As you are aware, parent concerns regarding enrollment at Briarwood were brought to the superintendent and Board of Education earlier this year. In addition to visiting with the Briarwood Site Council, once in the fall and again in the spring, and reviewing enrollment information, trends, and data compiled in the demographer’s report, I have also reviewed parent feedback from a recent survey. At this time, I have decided to return all students who are currently attending Briarwood on transfer to the school in their home attendance area beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. Board Policy JFBA: In-District Transfers states, “A request for transfer may be granted only if there is sufficient space available at the receiving school…Approval of a transfer for one school year shall not be construed as an entitlement to attend that school in any succeeding school year…The district staff will review all transfers on an annual basis.” There is not sufficient space available at this time to be able to continue to honor in-district transfers at Briarwood. In-district transfer students who are currently in fifth-grade and will be sixth-graders in 2014-2015 may, if they choose, remain at Briarwood to complete their sixth-grade year with their class. Siblings of these students, however, will not be permitted to continue at Briarwood and will be returned to the neighborhood school in their home attendance area.
Nineteen students currently receiving English Language Learner (ELL) support at Briarwood will graduate from this program and return to their home schools for the 2014-2015 school year. With these students returning to their home schools and by returning the in-district transfer students to their home schools, class sizes at each grade level at Briarwood are projected to be within the district guidelines for the 2014-2015 school year; however, it leaves little room for any additional enrollment or future growth. So, in addition, I have decided to relocate the English Language Learner Center to another elementary school location for the 2015-2016 school year. This will allow the district time to determine a site at which to relocate the center, develop a detailed plan for the relocation of services including staffing with ELL-endorsed teachers, and communicate and work with families. No boundary changes will be recommended to the board at this time. We will continue to monitor the enrollment situation to ensure we have a long-term plan to address enrollment at Briarwood. We will be working with the families of students currently on transfer, as well as working with the families of students receiving services in the ELL center to ensure all transitions between schools are successful.
Jim Hinson, Ed. D.