DPS Admin planning to phase out Manny Martinez Middle School

Hot off the presses, forwarded from a community ally:

Dear Parents:

Denver Public Schools has informed us it will recommend, starting with the next school year (2011-2012), that Manny Martinez Middle School no longer enroll any students for the 6th grade.  Only 7th and 8th grade students will be able to attend Manny Martinez Middle School.  Current 6th and 7th grade students at Manny Martinez, who advance to the next grade level, will be able to attend the school.

On Tuesday, October 26 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., a Community Meeting regarding the next steps for the School will be held in the West High School cafeteria.  Superintendent Tom Boasberg, Chief Academic Officer Susana Cordova and Board of Education Vice President Arturo Jimenez will participate.  We encourage you to attend.

In addition, the Board of Directors of Manny Martinez wants to provide you with the opportunity to discuss this potential change to the School.  Therefore, immediately prior to the Community Meeting on Tuesday at 7:30 pm, we will hold a meeting for parents at 6:30 pm in the Manny Martinez Middle School Teachers Lounge, Room Number 214.

We hope you can attend both meetings.

Sincerely,

Gabriel Trujillo, Principal

Ms. Judy Wolcott, Charter Board President

What is the deal with DPS not waiting until the community conversation is had before it makes these decisions?  Don’t they report to the Board?  Is the board falling asleep on the job?

Manny Martinez (Edison) Middle School and West High destabilization

From DPS:

Dear Parents, Educators and Community Members,

There will be a community information meeting next Tuesday, October 26th from 7:30 to 8:30 regarding Manny Martinez Middle School performance.  Please join Superintendent Boasberg, Chief Academic Officer Susana Cordova and Board of Education Vice President Arturo Jimenez for a thoughtful community discussion on the next steps for Manny Martinez.

Meeting will start promptly at 7:30 in the cafeteria at West High School.  Refreshments, childcare and translation to Spanish will be provided.

This is the first of many community conversations in the West high School community that we hope you will have with us to support and understand community and student needs.

Let’s talk about the truth here.  Manny Martinez, named after a much beloved Latino west side patriarch, has been performing abysmally.    It is the “worst-performing” school in the district, and it’s been plagued with weak leadership and serious discipline problems.  Many people on the non-collaborative reform side really want to see this school closed because it makes all other charters look bad.

However, to close this middle school will mean further destabilization of West High School, simply because there are no other middle schools that will feed into it.  There are currently no middle school options in that area.  The school board recently voted to restructure Greenlee K-8 and reverted it to a K-5. There has been a fear that the district will be moving to close West High School and will be handed over to a DSST or some other charter high school.

There has been a shift in demographics, as the Baker neighborhood is yet another in the long line of gentrified Denver neighborhoods, but there is still a significant Chicano and immigrant Latino population there.

DeFENSErs, show up to this meeting and support the Westside community members that have already started to organize to support the West High students.  Let’s bear witness to the discussion beginning there, as we knit the overall DPS strategy together with the destabilization of the Montbello neighborhood schools.

What’s with the experimentation on Black and Latino students?