Edging away from PK8 crisis mode

7:29 am

At the PK8 Action Team meeting last night, district staff had at least some good news for parents and concerned community members.

The biggest news was a commitment to provide age-appropriate library materials for all PK8 libraries, and staff over the summer to enter the books into the catalog system and put them on the shelves. But we still have eight schools without library staff.

It was also announced that each school would have two computer labs by one year from now.

Age-appropriate library materials and technology were two critical items identified in a petition published earlier this week, and it is gratifying to no longer have to fight for them.

But the lack of library staff at eight of our 30 PK8 schools means that a large number of students will continue to be denied basic educational resources. Until this gap is funded, the PK8 transition remains in crisis.

Adding to the confusion, the PK8 Action Team still hasn’t provided a comprehensive accounting of the funding gap. It is rumored that many of the facilities issues (restrooms, etc.) will be addressed, but there were many operational funding gaps presented at the last meeting that have not been categorized as “one-time” or “ongoing,” and there has not been a comprehensive, school-by-school list of needs.

In order to provide this accounting, the district must first define what constitutes a minimally adequate educational environment for middle schoolers. I requested this at the meeting last night, but I’m not entirely optimistic that we will get it.

This is, of course, a district-wide issue, not just PK8. But until we can define and guarantee a minimum level, we will continue to see gross inequities across our district.

Now that we seem to be edging away from crisis mode in the PK8 transition, perhaps we can talk about the looming strategic issues. I’m still not convinced that the district is fully committed to making PK8 work, or that we have an economically sustainable and educationally adequate model for our middle schoolers, especially at our smaller schools.

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Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.

filed under: Equity, Facilities, K-8 Transistion, Libraries

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2 Responses

  1. Comment from Zarwen:

    Are you sure that there are only 8 schools without librarians? Do you have a list of them? After what I heard at the meeting back in Feb., I can’t help thinking that total sounds too low.

  2. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Eight PK8 schools. There are probably quite a few K5s without library staff, not to mention 6-8s and high schools.