Northfield parents and guardians,
Northfield is nearing the time for a staff vote on a proposed IB Innovation Zone with McAuliffe International School. Please see below the answers to questions generated from an anonymous staff and community survey. Please also take some time to read this FAQ about Innovation Zones and the final application plan for the proposed zone with Northfield and McAuliffe.
Community Q and A
Will the innovation zone administration be using a management company?
The Innovation Zone will be governed by a Northeast Denver IZone Board with members recruited across boundary neighborhoods. Current Board members include Brian Weber, Brenda Bautsch, Stephan Pfeiffer, and Darrell Watson. NHS parent, student and staff voices will be represented on the Board through school representatives who will be non-voting members of the Board. Each school will have one representative on the Board. Representatives will be able to:
• Attend all board meetings
• Have the right to speak at the Board meeting and make motions
• Attend Executive Sessions and receive materials and documentation shared with the Board
How does the SBB+ budget work? When you opt out of one thing (such as curricular help from the district) you must opt into something else. Who will make those decisions?
The overall school budget (SBB) is determined by the NHS principal in consultation with the Northfield CSC. If Northfield joins the ND IZone the school will have access to the SBB+ budget which provides additional flexibility options to the school. The decision of what items to “opt out of” within this budget will be made by the Principal with guidance from the NHS Cabinet (this includes representation from all content areas and support staff) and individual department recommendations.
In some instances, if NHS opts out of a district service, there is a replacement or level of responsibility the school takes on. For example, if NHS “opts out” of curriculum support, the responsibility of the school is to provide coaching and professional development for teachers and leaders so that they have the skills, knowledge and capacity to provide high quality, standards-aligned, data-driven instruction. In many instances, NHS has the ability to provide services within the current teaching and leadership staff.
How will we be sure that we are incorporating the voices of the other feeder schools for Northfield (far north east for example) as we vertically align?
Northfield will continue to engage and build relationships with all feeder schools, those in the FNE and those in the boundary area that are not in the Zone.
Who is to say that McAuliffe is the best for our alignment? Are we going to alienate the other schools if we are working so closely with one (for which we don’t have a ton of students, they also have East as their main option).
The Northeast Innovation Zone is an International Baccaluarte Zone. There is no IB network in the District and this hinders the ability of NHS staff to collaborate with other IB teachers. As the zone grows, there is the potential to add non-IB schools if the founding schools determine this to be in the best interest of the community
The junior class has not had two years without huge changes to the school, do we have to do this now? Can we look to do something like this in a few years and allow for some consistency for our upper classmen?
Joining the NE Innovation Zone will have no impact on our students. There would be no changes to the current programming at NHS or to our student culture/climate. We are currently an Innovation School and joining the Zone would allow us more flexibility over our finances and create a network of IB schools for alignment and collaboration.
With the Innovation Zone, how will we ensure our enrollment is still as diverse as it is today? How are we communicating Innovation Zone information to families of color and non-English speaking families?
Per the Innovation Zone and Board Policy, Northfield will always reserve 35% of seats for students in the FNE. It is written in our Innovation Plan to maintain a balance of diversity among our school community.
Do we really need to join the zone to achieve the school’s goals?
Joining the NE Zone will provide NHS with additional flexibilities in the school budget and how we use the budget to support our school goals.
What does this mean for kids who don’t go to McAuliffe for Middle School?
The NE Zone does not impact the school boundary set by DPS School Board. NHS will continue to maintain and cultivate relationships with our largest feeder schools- McAuliffe, Denver Discovery School, Bill Roberts, Omar D. Blair and Florida Pitt-Waller
Attended a CSC meeting on this, seems very McAuliffe centered. As a Northfield parent I would not be in support of this based on what I heard.
The NE Innovation Zone is not based on McAuliffe. It is an IB Zone to promote the work of IB in neighboring schools. DPS does not have specific IB Networks or alignment among current IB schools and one of the goals of the zone is to create a network of IB schools. In the future, there is the potential for non-IB schools to join the Zone if it is something that the school community supports.
If Northfield HS were to join the innovation zone, would the school calendar reflect that of DPS or McAuliffe?
Northfield CSC has adopted a school calendar that starts one week early and ends one week before the District start and end of school. Outside of the start and end dates, NHS follows the District calendar.
How would an innovation zone benefit Northfield students?
The fundamental purpose of the Zone is to increase school flexibilities which will provide additional funding to NHS. This funding will directly benefit our students by providing additional personnel, resources and experiences to enhance and support the educational experiences of all students. How the extra funds will be used is determined by School Leadership in consultation with the CSC.
Would Northfield be the only high school in the Zone?
As of now, Northfield will remain the only high school in the Zone. There are no other IB Innovation Schools in DPS at this time. If the NHS staff and leadership identify another Innovation High School to join the zone, then they would request the admittance of a second high school.
Why do we have to do this right now? Why the rush?
As we move to a full 9-12 comprehensive high school, we have student specific needs that are not currently being met within our school budgets. The flexibility provided to schools in the Zone will allow us to improve and enhance the experiences of our students.
What is the step-by-step process to electing/replacing board members?
Board members will be selected by the existing board members and the school leaders. This process will be determined by the board and school leaders once the board is up and running. Terms will vary between 1 and 3 years so that the entire board does not turn over at the same time.
More details about Innovation Zone: Answers to your questions
- Northfield staff vote: Thursday, May 17
- DPS Board vote: June 2018