Show your support for Madison Elementary School

Show your support for Madison Elementary School – our neighborhood school.

The next two years could be difficult for students, families, and staff at Madison Elementary School.

If no changes are made the Olympia School District is will cut one of Madison’s seven classroom teachers next year and another classroom teacher the following year.

Why?

Falling student enrollment is the simple answer. The school district plans to cut the number of teachers to match the falling number of students in grades K-5 enrolled at Madison. There are fewer children living in Madison’s service area now than in past years.

Why is losing a teacher a problem?

Madison is already a small school – it has become too small. Losing one of the 7 classroom teachers will make it more demanding and difficult for the remaining 6 teachers to effectively teach all of our students and run the school at the same time.

It is the threat of losing one of our seven teachers that has made the Madison community willing to stand up and ask for changes – changes that will make Madison a sustainable small school that serves our students well. The Madison community is asking for more students – enough students to fill most of the empty classrooms in its recently constructed building.

Show your support for Madison Elementary Schoo

Think about a few things and write them down:

  1. What do you value about Madison school, it’s location, programs, education, and activities, etc.
  2. What concerns would if the school were to change in some way.
  3. What hopes would you have for our local neighborhood elementary school?

*Send those ideas to Bonnie Guyer Graham at graham.5@earthlink.net

What else can you do?

Come to the next Eastside Neighborhood Potluck in March and talk with other neighbors to share your concerns.

Who is Bonnie Guyer Graham? Bonnie is a long-time parent at the school and someone who has lived in this neighborhood for over 12 years. Bonnie is a parent volunteer, and works with other parents and staff on to help increase family and community involvement at the school as part of the Madison Action Team .

Questions or comments?

Please send your questions and comments to Bonnie at graham.5@earthlink.net rather than to the Olympia School District at this time. Bonnie will be happy to talk with you about any questions you might have. We at Madison are trying to gather input from a variety of our school’s neighbors and friends and see what they have in common.

We are hoping to use this collection of hopes and concerns to amplify the relatively small voice that the small number of Madison families and staff can muster.

Link to a related news article:

At this time it is apparent the Olympia School District does not realize there are empty classrooms at Madison Elementary and that it is necessary to act to fill that empty space and to improve learning opportunities at Madison. Here is an excerpt from the Olympian article on March 2nd.

Where to build schools?

Olympia: East side crowded, while west has empty space, session hears

The lopsided growth of Olympia’s population has resulted in schools that are at or nearing capacity on the east side and schools on the west side with room to grow…

Lahmann noted that districts get state funding to build new schools only when existing schools exceed capacity, which is imminent for some of the district’s east side schools.

To see the full article: http://www.theolympian.com/2010/03/02/1157163/where-to-build-schools.html

One Response to “Show your support for Madison Elementary School”

  1. Wendy Endress

    Declining Enrollment at Madison Elementary School

    You Need to Know
    Madison Elementary’s enrollment has declined by 29% in the last six years while neighboring schools’ enrollment has increased. The current enrollment is 149 students (K-5) and is projected to continue to decline. Madison now has the smallest enrollment in the Olympia School District. Declining enrollment is apparently due to population shifts in the neighborhood, not to inter-district transfers.

    Why Does this Matter?
    The situation is urgent. This issue is bigger than we at Madison can solve on our own. This is an issue that the School District itself must work on. The school district must begin the process now. What will be the best way to add more students to the Madison community for the long term? We need to restore the size of Madison’s student body to improve the quality of the education our students receive.

    • Funding and staffing is linked to enrollment. Lower enrollment means fewer resources for our children. Madison currently has a part-time principal, counselor, and librarian and one teacher per grade level except for first grade. The small staff is spread very thin to cover district and school responsibilities. Each year the school’s budget for educational materials has decreased while costs have not gone down.

    • Fewer staff results in one teacher per grade level which means limited options for matching students with teachers.

    • Smaller enrollment means fewer families with the energy and resources to support the school and provide enriching opportunities for our children.

    • Smaller enrollment means less diversity and less opportunity for children to build friendships and relationships.

    What Is Being Done?
    The staff at Madison has discussed the declining enrollment and associated issues with Kevin Evoy, Assistant Superintendent, and Frank Wilson, District 1 School Board Member; Bonnie Guyer Graham, Madison Parent, has spoken to these individuals and raised these concerns at an April School Board meeting; and over 30 parents, volunteers, and staff at the recent Madison All-School Dinner focused on this issue.
    Kevin Evoy has indicated that the District is not interested in closing the school and District staff has discussed possible solutions to the issue. An immediate response has ensured that Madison will be able to keep all of our current teachers, although the projected drop in student enrollment would normally cause us to lose a teacher for the coming school year.
    While these actions are promising, it is very important that the District take action in the short-term and commit to a long-term solution to ensure that Madison’s enrollment grows to at least 220 to ensure a sustainable future.

    What Can You Do?
    Madison is valued for its small size, its strong instructional program—especially Walk to Read, community connection, newer facility, innovative technology, our new garden, and highly dedicated and talented staff. Help ensure that the school has a sustainable future!

    • Attend the Olympia School Board meeting on Monday, May 10th at 6:30 pm in the Knox Center at 1113 Legion Way SE to show your support for Madison.

    • Make a brief statement at the Board meeting encouraging the members to require the District administrators to develop a plan to address this issue by May 2011. Community comment is held at the beginning of the Board meeting, and each speaker is welcome to speak for two to three minutes.

    What you might want to share with the School Board:
    A couple of things you value most about Madison.
    Start the process now –- creatively decide the best way of including more students in the Madison school community.
    Suggestions you have for increasing student enrollment at Madison!

    • Send an email to School Board members or to the District Superintendent requesting prompt attention in addressing this issue.
    Carolyn Barclift cbarclift@osd.wednet.edu
    Mark Campeau mcampeau@osd.wednet.edu
    Allen Miller amiller@osd.wednet.edu
    Eileen Thomson ethomson@osd.wednet.edu
    Vamsi Chunduru, Student vchunduru93@gmail.com
    Frank Wilson, President fwilson@osd.wednet.edu
    William Lahmann, Superintendent lahmann@osd.wednet.edu

    • Stay informed and active in seeking action on this issue.

    For more information:
    Bonnie Guyer Graham, Madison Parent, at graham.5@earthlink.net
    Wendy Endress, Madison Parent, at wendy.endress@gmail.com
    April 29, 2010

    Reply

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