Federal Hill Prep principal supports district's recommendation to drop middle-school program

Though, some parents take issue with missing school-choice process

March 14, 2012|Erica L. Green

The principal of Federal Hill Preparatory Elementary/Middle School told the Baltimore city school board Tuesday that she strongly supported the district's recommendation to drop the school's struggling middle grades program.

Since the system rolled out it's fourth-year-recommendations to close or discontinue struggling programming in schools, we hadn't heard as much from the Federal Hill community as we had from other schools impacted by the proposals. You can read about the distric'ts recommendations, here.

Southside Academy High School is fighting the recommendation that it close at the end of this year, and has made a strong showing at public meetings. Parents at Moravia Park, which will also drop middle grades, made signs showing their discontent about the limited school choices they will have because the district-wide, school-choice process took place in the fall. Another school, Steuart Hill Academy, is also recommended to drop its struggling middle-school program.

Sabree Barnes, principal of Federal Hill Prep, said that the decision well-researched for nearly two years, and that she believed the grade reconfiguration would benefit all of her students, particularly the 78 middle school students who would be better served by a more robust program.

"Based on qualitative and quantitative data, the closure of our middle-school grades is the best solution," Barnes said, adding that the displaced students have "viable" options in neighboring schools like Francis Scott Key.

Federal Hill Prep's elementary grades are also busting at the seams, Barnes said, and the building physically can't accomodate so many students.

While some Federal Hill parents have also raised the issue of the late timing for choosing new schools, Barnes said that "school closures are often emotional...but looking through a long-term [lens], this is the best decision."

The city school board is expected to vote on the recommendations on March 27.

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