Beginning next school year, our district will have new attendance areas for our middle schools. So what does that mean for you? If you have a student who will be in sixth, seventh or eighth grade in the fall of 2020, they may attend a new school. This week, the Shakopee School Board voted to move forward with two attendance area scenarios we believe address the reasons behind this change. The scenarios are being shared with the public to receive input and feedback before the board makes a final decision in December or January.

For the last nine years, the district has not changed attendance areas and this has led to a growing difference in the number of students at each of our middle schools. Currently, the student count difference between East Middle School and West Middle School is about 427 students. West Middle School is about 100 students over capacity, while East Middle School is about 300 students below capacity.

This difference in the student count at each school can present some challenges in the way our schools operate including: pressure on common areas, challenges in the teaming structure for teachers and core staffing.

New attendance areas address the challenges; allowing us to balance our schools and plan for future growth. We encourage you to visit our website to examine each attendance area scenario: shakopee.k12.mn.us/Page/9929. We have also posted a Q&A on our website that addresses commonly asked questions.

We are requesting your feedback as well. You can email your questions or comments to communications@shakopee.k12.mn.us or you can attend one of our Middle School Attendance Areas Listening & Input Sessions. The first session will be held at East Middle School on Oct. 29. The second session will be held at West Middle School on Nov. 7. Both sessions are from 6-7 p.m. We will also have informational tables set up at parent/teacher conferences at both middle schools and at each elementary school.

We understand change can be difficult and this isn’t a responsibility we take lightly. However, these changes are necessary in order to balance enrollment at our middle schools, and plan for future growth. We are committed to maintaining quality education and resources at both East and West and we hope you will support us in this process.

Dave Orlowsky is the Assistant Superintendent for Shakopee Public Schools.

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