Plans for the 2019-20 school year

Plans for a new school configuration for the 2019-20 school year
Posted on 04/11/2019
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Dear Camden City School District Parents and Families,

This week, we met with leaders and teaching staff to share plans for a new school configuration for the 2019-20 school year. After months of listening and engagement with the broader Camden community, and state and local officials, we are communicating today that we will be making changes for the upcoming school year. We believe that we can create better school environments and learning opportunities for your children.

Toward this end, beginning in the 2019-20 school year, we will vacate Veterans Memorial Family School and begin a dual language academy in East Camden at the Alfred Cramer College Preparatory Lab School. All current Veterans students will begin to attend either Davis School or the dual language academy at Cramer School (students receiving language services, bilingual or ESL, will attend Cramer).

We move forward with this decision after careful deliberation and much onsideration. Currently, the Veterans building needs $14M in immediate investment, including a new roof, an upgraded HVAC system, façade repairs, amongst other projects. It is not currently financially viable to make this investment before next school year. By moving the general education student population to Davis, the District will be able to use dollars that would otherwise go to facilities repairs to more robustly invest in academic programs. Additionally, by creating a dual language academy at Cramer, it will allow the District to focus energy on creating a high-quality dual language program located closer to where many families in need of these services live.

Additionally, we will create a new early childhood school at what is currently the RT Cream Family School in the Centerville neighborhood of the city. The R.T. Cream Early Childhood Center will serve three and four-year old prekindergarten students, allowing the District to create a strong early childhood program for our youngest learners in Centerville. All current Cream students entering grades K to 5 for next year will attend HB Wilson, and all Cream students entering grades 6 to 8 will attend Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy. We believe, the change will also benefit students moving to HB Wilson and CAMVA, who will be in newer and more academically vibrant school buildings with a wider array of academic programs.

We share this information knowing that transition is not easy, and are committed to working with all families to make it as smooth as possible. We are currently working with school leaders to put plans and supports in place around student transportation and enrollment for next school year, as well as to ensure that any questions families have are answered.

As a proud child of Camden, and a long-time educator in our district, I know that change can be difficult. When I shared my strategic plan with you this past Fall, I shared a few priorities with you based on the hundreds of conversations I had with families across the City to put district students first : to accelerate student achievement, ensure there is a great teacher in every classroom, and that the district has safe schools built for success. I would not be recommending these changes without full conviction. I believe that this school change helps us reach these priorities, and most importantly, helps us create a bright future for your child.

Sincerely,

Katrina T. McCombs
Acting State Superintendent


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