Newport-Mesa: Zone Configuration Scenarios

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Newport-Mesa Unified School District has seven Trustee areas, some of which do not have standard grade-level configurations. They were looking to make intelligent decisions based on hard numbers in a timely manner.

BACKGROUND

Newport-Mesa Unified School District has seven Trustee areas, some of which do not have standard grade-level configurations. In particular, a standard Kindergarten through sixth (K-6) grade school configuration is very uncommon.

In the Costa Mesa Zone (Trustee Area 2), there is one elementary school that serves grades K-6, three elementary schools that serve grades K-3, and one elementary school serves grades 4-6. The middle school students attend school on the high school campus. The high school serves grades 7-12. In addition, the elementary school that serves grades 4-6 is located adjacent to the high school and is separated by the playfields and site fencing.

CHALLENGE

Zone and grade level configuration. Some of the parents of students attending the three K-3 schools wanted to change the grade level configurations at their home schools in order to minimize the number of transitions their children would have to make during elementary school. In addition, some parents had reservations and concerns with their children attending 4th grade at a school that is located directly adjacent to a high school.

The parents requested the Board of Education have staff prepare and present a study that would evaluate the impact to the existing schools and the cost associated with reconfiguring the K-3 school sites to K-4, K-5, or K-6 school sites.

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SOLUTION

Using the demographic studies and the Dynamic Boundary Analysis™ tool available through The DI System, Newport-Mesa Unified School District created three different scenarios and evaluated the impact of each. The District created a presentation that evaluated each scenario based on the current and future enrollment projections for each school, plus aerial views of the schools themselves to show facilities options for additional classroom needs.

They held three meetings at each school site to discuss the options with parents and staff. The District also sent out surveys to every 3rd grade parent in the Costa Mesa zone to ensure everyone had an opportunity to provide the District feedback. The feedback and the scenarios were presented to the Board.

RESULT

After careful review of the scenarios, cost estimates, phasing plans, coupled with parent feedback, the Board decided to change all three K-3 school sites to serve grades K-4 for the 2007-2008 school year. Parents were pleased with this decision because they were involved in the process and were able to review and comment on the scenario study and presentation. Most remarkably, The DI System made it easy to evaluate each scenario quickly. What would have usually required months of research and time was greatly reduced with the technology of the DI System and its simple point-and-click interface.

The DI System helped Newport-Mesa Unified School District make intelligent decisions based on hard numbers in a timely manner. The reliability of the numbers helped build rapport with parents and community members.

“DecisionInsite has simplified a very complex process for school districts. Also, the professional-quality charts, graphs and aerial images we were able to create and import into the power point presentation from The DI System made a tremendous impact on parents and community members— the validity of the data was never scrutinized!”

– Ara K. Zareczny, Facilities Analyst
Newport-Mesa Unified School District