District Boundaries, Vision: 2020

Excellence with Equity

Dear JCPS,

In a previous episode of “How JCPS Turns,” Superintendent Hargens mentioned that three JCPS seniors were awarded scholarships in excess of one million dollars. One of those students defies widely accepted paradigms because he comes from a priority school.

Not only did this student earn unprecedented scholarship dollars but this valedictorian was accepted into several prestigious universities as well as the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy. This Governors scholar scored a 32 on his ACT he took six AP classes to dual credit classes at Morehead State he wants to fly F 35’s off the back of the landing ships, become a career Marine officer and eventually apply for the astronaut candidate program.

My son, Peyton Adelmann, is proof that a school’s priority status means nothing about the opportunities that exist nor the quality of instruction or rigor available. He demonstrated that you can go to the lowest performing school in the state and still get the best education possible. Low test scores are not because of the building. They’re not because of the teachers. You can be successful in any school in the district as long as you have someone to advocate for you, access to necessary wrap around services, and you’re not trying to overcome the effects of trauma and poverty without necessary resources.

So, on tonight’s episode of “As JCPS Turns,” we will focus on disparities that  prevent some students from achieving Excellence with Equity.

Please take a look at the high school boundary map I handed you. There is a noticeable difference between the colors of this map. I understand why we have this map the way that we do. It’s in order to achieve integration. However, if it was truly about excellence with equity, we would be sending as many students from East to West as we do from West to East. I realize that’s not always easy to do, but we could be doing a better job getting the word out about the wonderful opportunities that exist at schools like Shawnee. We could be using more carrot and less stick to achieve this goal. Help us get the word out that it’s worth the bus ride or car ride to come down to a magnet school in the West End.

Instead, we take the most disenfranchised part of our population and further disenfranchise them by sending their kids across town. We separate them from their community. We criticize them for not being involved parents. Sometimes, these kids can’t stay for after school activities or can’t get the assistance they need because they might not have a way home. They may be on a bus an  hour each way to a school that’s potentially no better than one in their own neighborhood.

Then because we’ve bused all of the Shawnee kids out of their neighborhood. And by the way, these other schools have the luxury of attending schools in their neighborhood, but we have no sense of community for these West End students. Their neighbor goes to a different school than they do. Then we have to backfill. Shawnee buses in from the Portland area.  We need to find a way to revisit this map and unwind it.

We have students in our neighborhood who want to come here. This is evidenced by the First day of school when approximately 100 high school students show up thinking or hoping we are their school. Instead, we send them away! If they want to be in our school, and they qualify for our program, we need to find a way to accommodate them so that our school can reach an efficient economy of scale, and raise our scores at the same time.

Three minutes is not enough time. I will follow up with an email to finish my story.

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