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McAuliffe Middle School Update

Sunday, December 16, 2012 Leave a Comment

As the parent of two Swigert Elementary School students, I attended the McAuliffe middle school meeting last Thursday. My recap follows - and my opinion.

Did you know?

  • Denver Public School projections show the number of Stapleton kids enrolling in DPS ECE to 12th doubling from 2012 to 2015: 2,122 Stapleton kids now, 4,041 in 3 years! (source: DPS- SUN presentation 10/4/12)
  • The majority of those kids are 5th grade and younger - approximately 32% are in elementary school now.
  • Only 6.5% of those kids are currently in middle school.
  • By 2014, the Eastbridge Elementary + Middle School will open, with capacity for 500-600 kids.
  • By 2015, the North Stapleton Elementary + Middle School will open, with capacity for 900-1,000 kids.
So what does this all mean?

For McAuliffe, this means:
  • Every Stapleton child is guaranteed a seat at a neighborhood school.
  • Westerly Creek is at capacity. Bill Roberts is at capacity. Swigert is the only school that can absorb those kindergartners right now.
  • That means Swigert is taking classrooms from McAuliffe.
  • And that means McAuliffe won't be able to accommodate the middle school kids on the way.
For McAuliffe to keep its International Baccalaureate status, it must adhere to certain standards - things like offering P.E. every day, and foreign language, and electives.

But they need the economies of scale to do that. They need more space - more classrooms - to  keep their IB status.

They need more space.

What's happening with Smiley Middle School?
Fortuitously, Smiley Middle School is going to be phased out over the next two years, leaving a beautiful, spacious building. In Park Hill.

What do you think of having McAuliffe move? It will be contentious, no doubt.

After hearing Principal Kurt Dennis, his staff, and parents of kids who ADORE McAuliffe, I think moving to the bigger building is the right thing to do -- with plenty of **asterisks**.

And yet, I'm torn. We all want the neighborhood schools that our kids walk to.

As the parent of a Swigert student, I love the International Baccalaureate program. I can only imagine how much better it will be at the middle school level. I want my child to have a spot at the IB middle school - not just a shot at the lottery.

Would Swigert just take over the entire building? Would a different middle school move in? Remember, McAuliffe cannot maintain IB status without the classrooms. Could one of the future Stapleton school locations in Eastbridge or Northfield accommodate McAuliffe? What about the new high school? Where would the money come from?

Would love to hear your thoughts.




1 comments »

  • Anonymous said:  

    Very interesting. As long as the residents/students of Park HIll are still allowed to use this building (and join the McAuliffe family), I have no problem with this. The fact that Stapleton did not plan enough schools for their infrastructure (in a timely manner) should not negatively impact the residents of Park Hill. Through team work I'm sure a plan could be formed that would be a win/win for both communities.