Friday, December 16, 2016

Director Burke withdraws his amendment to delay the split of Cascadia

Dear Cascadia Staff and Families,
At the Dec 7h School Board meeting, I introduced a potential amendment to the Student Assignment Plan directing district staff to remove the geo-split to Decatur and maintain the Cascadia cohort intact at the new site, located on the Wilson Pacific Campus.  The core values behind this amendment are steadfast for me – fiscal responsibility, long-term planning for the HCC program, and cohort stability, all within a commitment to student learning.
Since the posting of this potential amendment, I have received a wide range of feedback from families and educators.  Respondents have highlighted academic, scheduling, and safety challenges related to the current over-enrollment, concerns about students in portables, and also worries about starting up the Decatur site quickly with a high level of services, while addressing the looming potential budget deficit.  Ultimately, families and educators both share concerns about the educational experience of their students.  Feedback from stakeholders on the "best" district-wide action regarding Cascadia has been varied with no consensus.
My role as a School Board Director is to listen closely to the community, our staff, and make the best decision possible for our students and district.  At this time based on the data I have received and engagement with the community and staff, I believe the least disruptive path is to proceed with opening an additional HCC site at the Decatur building.  This will relieve pressure at the new Cascadia building and address many of the concerns I have heard from families and educators.  I am requesting that Amendment 3 to the Student Assignment Plan (SAP) be withdrawn.
I want to offer my heartfelt thanks for those who offered their feedback and time, e-mailed, and visited my community meeting.  We have a shared responsibility to nurture strong and positive learning communities and candid, respectful discourse is a critical component of that.  We have a lot more work to do at the district level, and within our buildings to minimize disruption and maximize learning for students.  I look forward to further conversations, even the difficult ones, along that journey.
Wishing you all a relaxing and enjoyable holiday,
Rick Burke

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