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Statement from the Board: Attendance Area Equity

The board of the Iowa City Community School District is committed to providing equitable learning environments for all students. Previous boards had the same commitment and developed strategic goals for equitable student outcomes and experiences, as well as for balanced school populations. We are determined to continue to advance these goals with a sense of urgency and with measurable outcomes. 

First, we will continue to foster a culture of equity and cultural responsiveness throughout our district. We highly value the work of our teachers, paraeducators, and all staff who work in our school buildings. We want to ensure they all have the supports they need to be responsive to the diversity of students and families in our district. To that end, we strongly support district initiatives such as implicit bias training, positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), restorative justice practices, recruitment and retention of teachers and staff of color, the climate and culture survey, and the continued use of disaggregated data in support of decisionmaking. 

Since May, the board has also been researching options designed to better balance our elementary school populations. Options under consideration include the following:

  • Eliminating voluntary transfer (with some defined exceptions)
  • Changing boundaries and attendance areas
  • Pairing schools
  • Creating magnet schools

The board recognizes that these kinds of changes would require a great deal of planning and communication, and we are therefore looking at a multi-year, phased approach. 

For the 2019-2020 school year, we are considering restricting voluntary transfer and making specific boundary changes. We are currently working on these items and plan to vote on voluntary transfer changes at the October 23 board meeting and on boundary changes at the November 13 meeting. 

The board has also been doing a great deal of research on pairing schools. We will continue working on this concept in January 2019, at which time we will host a series of meetings and forums on the goals and impacts of pairing schools. Should the input and research demonstrate that pairing schools is a positive means of accomplishing our equity goals, the board will make a decision by May 2019 to move forward. The earliest that we could implement paired schools is the 2020-2021 school year. 

Once we complete our work on paired schools, we will focus on other school concepts, like magnet schools. 

The board is deeply committed to making positive changes in support of all our students. We believe these changes will make our district stronger and will drive positive change and growth throughout our entire community.