Proposed New Boundaries for Allentown elementary schools 6-12-20

The map shows the new proposed boundaries for Central, Ramos and the new elementary school (red) in addition to the current boundaries (shaded colors) for Central, Cleveland, McKinley and Ramos.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Allentown School District Board of Directors discussed the futures of two charter schools during their committee meetings Thursday night.

In the first case, directors approved renewing Roberto Clemente Charter School for a period of five years ending on June 30, 2025.

As part of the agreement, ASD agreed to engage "in serious negotiations concerning enrollment caps related to future academic school years based on the district's financial status."

Roberto Clemente's 2020 graduating class featured 37 students, according to Jose Molina, chief executive officer of Roberto Clemente.

The second issue involved a request from the Executive Education Academy Charter School, which sought a 50-student increase for its 2020-21 school year. EEA instructs 1,330 students from 14 school districts. A total 910 of those are from ASD. This month, 80 students are graduating.

Although ASD officials said that they appreciated "the collaborative conversation and process developed with EEACS," the administration of Superintendent Thomas Parker will not support increasing the cap for next school year.

In other news, directors advanced an administration initiative to create a new attendance catchment area for the new elementary school at 12th and Gordon streets.

The new area will incorporate the entire current borders of McKinley and Cleveland elementary schools, as well as small sections of Ramos and Central elementary schools.

Another redistricting move would reassign all incoming Sheridan Elementary students from Ritter Elementary to the Jackson Early Childhood Center.

Currently, Sheridan does not have enough available classrooms to support its incoming kindergarten students. Right now, Sheridan kindergarten students attend Ritter.

Because of the reassignment of McKinley and Cleveland students to the new elementary school, Jackson now has the ability to support Sheridan kindergarten students.

Some directors were concerned about the walking distance for students, but the plan received majority support and was advanced for final approval later this month.

Early childhood education

In other business, directors forwarded an agreement between ASD and Community Services for Children Inc. Head Start Lehigh Valley to provide space for the delivery of early childhood education at two ASD schools - Jackson and Lincoln - for up to 37 children and their families.

The pact is for 13 months and runs from Aug. 1 of this year until Aug. 31, 2021.

ATSI plans

Finally, directors forwarded additional targeted support and improvement, or ATSI, plans for Louis E. Dieruff and William Allen High Schools. The plans were required after the Pennsylvania Department of Education's ATSI designation for underperformance.

Specifically, the plans "emphasize continuous school improvement with an emphasis on specific subgroups that have historically experienced low achievement within each school's population."

The directors' regular board meeting is scheduled for June 25.

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