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July 29, 2009 > New Haven seeks community input on Barnard-White campus

New Haven seeks community input on Barnard-White campus

Submitted By Rick La Plante

Seeking to determine whether a new small learning community might be a viable option for the former Barnard-White Middle School campus, the New Haven Unified School District is looking for students, parents, teachers, administrators and other community members interested in participating in the planning process.

"We want to hear from parents, staff, community members and especially students about how a new small learning community might look and how it might work," Superintendent Kari McVeigh said.

Barnard-White closed at the end of the 2007-08 school year as part of the District's efforts to meet the financial challenges of declining enrollment. The campus, located on Whipple Road, was used in 2008-09 as the temporary home of Cesar Chavez Middle School, while the CCMS campus was being modernized. The middle school will return to its Hop Ranch Road campus when the 2009-10 school year opens Sept. 2.

In a series of community meetings held immediately after decision was made to close Barnard-White, several ideas emerged as to how the campus might be used in the future, one of which was the creation of a small learning community. Possibilities that have been discussed include a "magnet style" school or "academy" or an immersion school that would offer instruction in two or even three languages.

With the state financial crisis having an even greater effect on the District's budget than did declining enrollment, one of the parameters for any use of the Barnard-White site remains that it is at least "cost-neutral." A new program might qualify for federal Title I funds, various grants and/or community partnerships.

A Strategic Planning process, similar to that employed for District-wide planning and individual school planning will begin in August, Superintendent McVeigh said. Volunteers asked to serve on the planning team would develop a mission statement for the school and identify specific objectives and strategies to guide the new learning community.

The process will be coordinated by Wendy Gudalewicz, the District's new Chief Academic Officer.

Individuals interested in volunteering to be part of the planning team are asked to contact Executive Assistant Lori Valdes by e-mail (lvaldes@nhusd.k12.ca.us). Please include your name and address, day, evening and cell phone numbers, e-mail address, and a brief statement about why you would like to serve. The deadline is July 31.

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