Archive | October, 2012

Crocker Boundary Discussion

As some of you know, there has been a lot of conversation, and action, regarding the boundaries for Crocker Highlands Elementary. I want to clarify some things and to make sure you all understand my position in the discussions.

The most important thing for you to know is that if you are a Crocker family, you are part of the family. I don’t like to use the phrase, “I don’t care..” in regard to anything, but I don’t care where families live. Your kids are our kids. If you are one of the families here, you are part of the community.

When OUSD decided to move the boundaries last year, it raised a lot of concern. My concern was – how big do they want Crocker to be (# of kids)? We have only so many classrooms, and so much space in the MPR and on the playground, and of course, only so much parking! When families on the school tours tell me how much they want to come to Crocker, I want to welcome them in, all of them. Now, I am not sure of what a child’s chances are to get into Crocker. My nature is to make everyone happy and if I can’t, I feel like I’m not doing my job. (That’s a whole different conversation.) Some people may be unhappy next year. I was glad that we were able to add a 4th kindergarten class (decided in April 2012) and welcome a new group of wonderful families into the Crocker community. We were very fortunate with our new staff who joined us, and we are off to a great school year. We can handle 17 classrooms, it’s working just fine. I don’t know how much bigger we can grow.

Last summer, a group of parents got together after the large meeting in the MPR with District Leadership (I’m periodically reminded that I’m district leadership, too) and formed the CLRP, Crocker Long-Range Planning Committee. They continued to meet with District Leadership, and I participated in several of those meetings, to discuss what is going to happen with Crocker regarding the expanded boundaries. Their push was to ask the School Board to re-evaluate their decision about the boundaries and to do more research regarding the number of school-age children in the revised Crocker boundaries. ( I don’t like the term “new boundaries” or “old boundaries.”) I feel that their request was a fair one and I support this deeper look into how many kids are going to be in the Crocker boundary and the question, can we take them all? When I asked one of the committee members, “What if we discover we can hold all the children in the revised boundaries?” The response was, “Then we’re done.” I have spoken to all the CLPC participants and believe their intent is a good one – it’s not to exclude, it’s to make sure we have the capacity to serve all the children who are assigned here.

At the Board Meeting this week, many Crocker parents spoke on behalf of this request to the District. The Board agreed (voted) for OUSD to look into the issue of school boundaries and the possible over-enrollment of Crocker Highlands, and to make some recommendations for the future boundaries. OUSD is already on board and is working on this information. I do not know if there will be changes or if they are, what they will look like. A better informed decision, either way, is the way to go.

I do not want this issue to divide our community. I am hoping this email helps to reassure you that the boundary discussions are not meant to make families feel unwelcome. It’s about Crocker’s capacity.

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Crocker Long-range Planning Committee (CLPC)

Dear Crocker Families,
Last week I ran into a neighbor who is a previous parent of mine when I was teaching here at Crocker Highlands.  When I told her there were 419 students at Crocker, she was shocked.  When her children were here, there were between 350-360 students at Crocker.  I hear that at one time, there were over 500 students here.  There are certainly trends in Crocker’s enrollment, and now the situation has become even more challenging.

With the recently enlarged boundaries for some of the elementary schools in OUSD, and specifically Crocker Highlands, there has been a lot of discussion.  A group of parents formed the Crocker Long-range Planning Committee (CLPC).  They are gathering information to help the district do long-range planning regarding predicting enrollment in the future.  The vision of this committee is about providing information for the principal and the district to plan regarding enrollment trends. It’s not an easy task, but if we are able to better predict enrollment, it will help us in staffing plans and possible budgetary demands.
In saying all that, I am asking that everyone, that is someone from every household, answer a few short questions so that OUSD (Oakland Unified School District) can better perform capacity forecasting for Crocker Highlands Elementary School.
Please click on the URL to begin the survey: You can also cut and paste the link into your browser to begin the survey.
This survey is intended for ALL residents, regardless of age, household status, or schooling needs. The objective is to better understand the changing trends within our community as they relate to our local neighborhood school, such as the number of new and existing empty nesters, single persons, families with children, and other resident configurations in our neighborhood. This data will be kept private and only used for future planning purposes. If you know empty-nesters etc. in our community who may not be receiving this Newsletter, please forward them the link for the survey.
The more people who respond, the more accurate the information.  This is a pilot data collection effort and may be used to help forecast capacity for other schools within OUSD and promote sustainable growth.  I want anyone who wants to come to Crocker to be able to do so.  We have to make sure we have the room and spots for all of our children.
Beth Rhine

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