AMITE — Tangipahoa Parish school officials have begun the detailed planning necessary to implement a new student assignment plan starting next year.
The plan, which takes a school-choice approach to integrating the parish’s schools, received approval in June from the federal judge overseeing the parish’s 50-year-old desegregation case.
Maureen Terese, the district’s new student assignment plan coordinator, told the School Board on Tuesday that work is underway to set up an online enrollment process, finalize attendance zone boundaries and create maps, and determine what each school’s needs — in terms of space, staffing and programming — will be when the student populations shift next year.
Under the new plan, the parish will be divided into three regional zones, each containing a variety of school options such as traditional community schools, magnet schools and schools with a science, technology, engineering and math focus.
Students can attend the school to which they’re assigned based on their address or any school in their region where they qualify for a transfer and still take the school bus. Students choosing schools outside their region must provide their own transportation.
Terese said she hopes parents will be able to start the enrollment and residency verification process by Oct. 15. The software the district plans to use for online enrollment should streamline the process for school officials and parents alike, she said.
Board President Brett Duncan said he hoped the software also would allow parents to see both the school to which their children are assigned based on home address and the other options available to them, both with and without district-provided transportation.
“I think New Orleans has a OneApp system where parents can pick, say, their top three choices and then get assigned to a school from there,” Duncan said.
District officials also are working to reconfigure bus routes for the new attendance zones and to provide support for principals whose schools will take on new magnet or other educational enhancement programs, Terese said.
“It’s a lot of work to do, but Maureen’s been full-speed on it,” Superintendent Mark Kolwe said. “I’m still optimistic that we can meet the board’s goal and have this all in place for next August.”
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