Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 22, 2014

Ravenswood district seeks input on new, consolidated middle school

Despite initial concept plans, any changes will be years down the line, superintendent says

by Elena Kadvany

The Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto is launching an "intensive listening campaign" to solicit community input on a potential new middle school for all of its sixth- through eighth-grade students, but Superintendent Gloria Hernandez-Goff is stressing that any changes are still far in the future.

The district's Board of Trustees recently approved goals and initial concepts for reconfiguring its facilities, which include the development of a single, comprehensive middle school at the Ralmar Avenue campus that now houses Green Oaks Academy, Cesar Chavez Academy and Los Robles Dual Immersion Magnet School. All Ravenswood sixth- through eighth-graders would attend school on this new campus, "allowing the district to pool resources and provide enhanced curriculum and instruction during these pivotal years to prepare the District's middle school students for academic success in high school and beyond," a statement from the superintendent reads.

Although the district has one middle school — Ronald McNair at 2033 Pulgas Ave. in East Palo Alto — many sixth- through eighth-graders attend school on K-8 campuses.

Under the proposal, all other district schools — Belle Haven, Brentwood Academy, Costano Elementary, Los Robles and Willow Oaks — would encompass transitional kindergarten (TK) through fifth grade, according to the statement. Los Robles would continue as the district's Dual Immersion Magnet Academy but would shift to serve TK-5 students and move to the current Ronald McNair site.

Hernandez-Goff has emphasized that the district will not be moving forward with such a plan until a comprehensive outreach campaign is conducted with community members, parents and other stakeholders. Their feedback will be incorporated into the district's facilities master plan, she said.

"Even once the listening campaign is completed and stakeholder input is taken into account, it would still take several years to fully implement the initial reconfiguration concepts that are now being evaluated," she said in a statement.

Ravenswood will be working with One East Palo Alto's Youth Empowerment Strategies for Success (YESS) collaborative, facilitated by Executive Director Faye McNair-Knox, to conduct the outreach.

Online Editor Elena Kadvany can be emailed at ekadvany@paweekly.com.

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