Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Closing Irving School, random ruminations, with sub-titles

Imagine you are in elementary, going to a school that is part of a fragile, yet closely knit community. A school where the same group of employees and volunteers have come in for years and done whatever they could to make your experience better. A school where EVERY child inside lives in poverty and the only place they can find refuge is in the classroom.

Imagine one day that school closed and you were shifted to a new school; a school where all of the people live in houses that are nicer than yours (you come from the projects) and as a result, they think they are better than you. The sad thing is, you imagine they are better than you.

Closing schools kill neighborhoods
It has been proven locally, there is an alternative to closing schools and forcibly herding children and families. Quest Charter Academy has proven that some old school buildings can be revived. The Board that oversees Quest has collaborated with the City and the County in a way that shows that closing schools doesn't have to happen - renovation may be possible:

Old Loucks School
Renovated Loucks School now Quest

Remember this post about the overcrowding of Glen Oak School? To date, tax payers have not heard back from the District about the solution to the overcrowding, nor has anybody in any position of authority, publicly inquired about the welfare of the students being warehoused. Out of sight - out of mind.

One can't help but wonder whether the classrooms at Lincoln School will now be over crowded.

Population Shift
Notice on the map below, there are no public schools in the lower valley in between Valeska Hinton (special admission only) and Lincoln Middle School. Additionally, there are no public schools in the lower valley in between Lincoln Middle School and Washington Gifted School (special admission only).

Redistricting is complete; the School District has a new boundary map; the City is already working with the Housing Authority; and eventually the families of the children that have been shifted to the schools in the lower valley (below the East Bluff and Glen Oak Park) will follow. 

Developers are salivating, their dream of developing the river front, down the river front trail to the marina, is closer now than it has ever been. Taft and the surrounding areas are well within grasp. Full river front development is potentially on track to being realized, thanks to the cooperation of the School District.

Irving School to close Dec. 21.
The 114-year-old school is finally, actually closing at the end of 2012. Since August, students and staff have been preparing to move to a 20-year-old air-conditioned building with new cafeteria, library, kitchen and computer lab.

On Dec. 21, Irving students will take what amounts to a field trip to their new school. They'll load onto buses, carrying their books and supplies, then unpack them in their cubbies at Lincoln, which will become simply Lincoln School, rather than Lincoln Middle School.

From the beginning of Christmas break to the end, Lincoln will go from a middle school to a kindergarten-through-eighth grade building, approximately doubling to 820 students and 86 teachers and other staff.

The district changed Irving's starting times so students could get accustomed to riding a bus route with Lincoln students. Substitute teachers have been hired to assure each teacher three days to pack and move into a new classroom. When the students move to Lincoln, the caring volunteers will follow them.

Lincoln open house and ribbon-cutting for new addition: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the school, 700 Mary St. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is 6 p.m., followed by a parents' forum with the Superintendent, tours and the open house. Source