Public schools in the Moorhead area weigh boundary change options – InForum
MOORHEAD — Public schools in the Moorhead area began a process to change the boundaries of the Ellen Hopkins Elementary Spanish Immersion program on Monday, Jan. 24, but a decision won’t be made for more than two months.
The program currently offers children in kindergarten through grade 6 the opportunity to learn to read, write, and speak Spanish. The program is located at Ellen Hopkins Elementary for grades K-4 and Horizon Middle School West Campus for grades 5-6.
The Spanish immersion program will move to the Probstfield Center for Education for the 2022-23 school year, requiring the district to realign the boundaries of each elementary school’s attendance zones as well as assess district start times and transportation routes, said district spokeswoman Brenda Richman. .
Steve Moore, Director of Operations and Emergency Management, recommended three boundary adjustment plans to the school board that will be considered by a working group made up in part of one parent from each affected elementary school: Robert Asp, Dorothy Dodds, Ellen Hopkins, Probstfield and SG Reinertsen.
The first scenario will take the existing Ellen Hopkins boundary and add areas of SG Reinertsen, Dorothy Dodds and Robert Asp elementary schools in an effort to try to balance enrollment “because we have an eastward expansion and a expanding south as the city grows,” Moore said.
Under the first option, Probstfield would have a bell hour 20 minutes earlier than other elementary schools, an idea that was not fully supported by people who took part in a district-led survey of 941 people, said Moore said. Also, additional staff would be needed to extend drop-off hours.
The second scenario is a cleaner cut, Moore said, and will take different areas of Dorothy Dodds and Robert Asp to incorporate into Ellen Hopkins, and areas of Dorothy Dodds to incorporate into the districts of Ellen Hopkins and SG Reinertsen.
Under the second option, Probstfield would have to start five to 10 minutes earlier and there would be no buses available for Spanish Immersion students. Shuttles between schools would take approximately 5-10 minutes.
The third scenario would take an area of Robert Asp and roll it into Dorothy Dodds and an area of Ellen Hopkins to roll into Robert Asp, then take another area of Dorothy Dodds and split it between Ellen Hopkins and SG Reinertsen, which ” spreads it out a little better,” especially for free and discounted students, Moore said.
Option three would not be able to provide buses for Spanish immersion students, and congestion would increase due to returning parents, but the option would not create new bus routes, Moore said.
A fourth option resembled the first scenario with minor changes, but would require another bus and driver, Moore said.
“We have run many different scenarios, but when the working group meets and finds another scenario that meets the criteria, we will review those as well. We wanted to come up with three good options for the task force that don’t close the door on other options that meet the criteria,” Moore said.
Board member Matt Valan questioned the feasibility of the Spanish immersion program, and while the program has been strong since its launch some 20 or more years ago, he asked if it was the direction in which the district wanted to continue.
“The world has changed over these years, and a number of world languages and I guess somewhere along the line it may be good to revisit this and see if this is the direction we want continue,” Valan said.
Other future options Moore heard about in public included Mandarin and American Sign Language.
Board member Kara Gloe asked how the district plans to get the information out to the public.
Moore said once the task force is selected, it will hold three meetings to complete by March 4, which will then submit a suggestion to the school board by the end of March or mid-April.