February 4 and 12: Two Important Meetings about Northampton Schools

Today’s Gazette reports that the Northampton Education Action Team will host a public meeting on the budget crisis at J.F.K. Middle School on Wednesday, February 4, at 7:00pm.

At the School Committee meeting of Thursday, February 12, the Strategic Planning Committee will present its final report. “That 25-member committee has spent the last several months researching all aspects of restructuring the city’s six public schools. Though it has been widely believed that the committee will recommend the closing of an elementary school, [Superintendent of Schools Isabelina] Rodriguez strongly feels that the Strategic Plan will stop short of such a pronouncement.” This meeting will take place at 7:15pm at J.F.K. Middle School.

See also:

Gazette: “Northampton faces loss of 40 teachers next year” (1/31/09)
[Mayor Clare] Higgins has proposed that $2.7 million be cut from the school department’s budget, which is now at about $27 million.

“Based on the mayor’s shared projection, we’re looking at, minimally, the loss of 40 teachers and additional staff cuts,” said Rodriguez.

The school district employs about 150 full-time teachers for its 2,750 students.

Video: School Committee Meeting of November 13; Citizens Ask Bridge Street School Be Saved

Bridge Street School in Peril
I am upset that people would speak publicly to the extent they did last
night about a possibility not yet realized. Also, it is my
understanding that the strengths identified by the strategic planning
committee include small, neighborhood schools. I hope the committee is
not shortsighted about these findings but will use them in order to
preserve our school and all others in the city.

Ward 3 Neighborhood Association: Statement of Support for Bridge Street Elementary School (9/19/08)

Closing Bridge Street School Contradicts Smart Growth Goals
On page 11 of the Sustainable Northampton Plan, Land Use objective number 5 states:

Locate housing within walking distances along safe paths, or with
bicycle access, to and from neighborhood commercial areas, parks and
recreation, schools, and public transportation.

On page 51, one metric of progress is “Percent of children able to walk to school”.

It is well known that mothers of young children are heavy users of cars…

Education World: “Are Smaller Schools Better Schools?” (7/20/00)
Although a variety of factors affect student achievement, the greatest
factor was the reduction of anonymity — going to a school where
someone knows you and your name. Being known by your teachers and peers
makes a difference, Wasley noted.