The Rockford School Board will consider a plan in the coming weeks that would move the RPS 205 bilingual program closer to home for middle and high school students enrolled in the program. If approved, the bilingual program will move from Eisenhower to RESA Middle School and from Guilford to Jefferson High School. The community is invited to learn more about the secondary student attendance zones proposal: 6 - 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at Jefferson High School, 4145 Samuelson Rd.
Administrators regularly evaluate student attendance zones – also called boundaries – because of enrollment trends and shifts in student population. Some schools are closer to capacity than others, and district leaders must ensure all schools are efficiently run and best serve our students and community.
Moving the bilingual program is a large component of a secondary rezoning plan. Secondary zones were last updated for the 2011-12 school year. Student population has shifted since then, and boundaries must change to accommodate. The School Board approved a new attendance plan for elementary students in July 2015. That demographer was retained to evaluate attendance boundaries for middle and high schools.
The maps (High School zones recommendation.pdf; Middle School zones recommendation.pdf) illustrate the current student assignment plan vs. the proposed changes. The bulk of the changes affect attendance zones for Eisenhower and Guilford, which will increase because of plans to relocate the bilingual program. An estimated 10 to 15 percent of secondary students – including bilingual program students – will be affected.
If approved, bilingual program zones would move starting with the 2017-18 school year. All secondary students in the bilingual program would attend school according to the new boundaries in the 2017-18 school year. Because of teachers and support staff needed, bilingual program zones would not be grandfathered. The Administration will recommend that other zone changes – aside from the bilingual program – be grandfathered. That means a student who starts as a freshman at one school for the 2016-17 school year can continue his or her high school career at that school, even if his or her attendance zone changes in this plan. The same is true for a new sixth grader in the 2016-17 school year.
More about the proposal:
- The zones were drawn by a third-party demographer and were designed to affect the smallest possible number of students. The demographer considered several factors, such as enrollment changes (plus enrollment trends and projections), census data, building capacity and walkability to school.
- The proposed zones will allow the elementary feeder schools to more efficiently into middle and high schools.
- The changes will not result in closing any schools.
- The plan would be fully implemented for the 2020-2021 school year. (Middle school would be fully implemented in 2019/20.)
- The Rockford School Board will consider the proposal this fall.