Board Briefs provides important information about the work of the 
San Rafael City Schools Board of Education. Following Board meetings on a
regular basis, SRCS will publish Board Briefs as a resource for the
greater SRCS community on Board discussions, actions and activity.
October 16, 2019
Short Elementary School to Close After This School Year

At its meeting on Oct. 14, 2019 the SRCS Board of Education voted to close Short Elementary School after the 2019-20 school year. The Board made its decision after a presentation from the Short School Community Taskforce, which recommended closing the school after this school year.

During the Board meeting, it was emphasized that the decision to close a school is not one to be taken lightly, and that the District is extremely mindful of the impact on students, families and staff. The Board's action is believed to be in the best interest of students, their learning and their future success. Given this decision, District and school leadership will work closely with the Short School community on next steps to ensure a successful transition to other SRCS schools.

A summary of recent District reports and updates, along with information from the Taskforce, was shared with the Board and the highlights are included below. 
Over the past few years - and particularly last school year - the District has been paying close attention to our enrollment trends and projections. Kindergarten enrollment has shown that the enrollment patterns have continued to level off for next year and are projected to remain flat or slightly decrease over the next several years.

Given that Short School does not have an attendance area, they are the elementary school most impacted by a change in enrollment. Short School opened in 2010-11 due to a rise in enrollment District-wide. However, as enrollment across the District has recently shifted to a downward trend, the District does not anticipate needing a kindergarten class again at Short next year. Currently for the 2019-20 school year, Short has TK and grades 2-5, approximately 100 students. Kindergarten students have been accommodated by their home school for the past several years.

Last year, we engaged Short School families, teachers and staff about how we can best serve the school community in the short and long-term given the enrollment information. Four sessions were held, with a large percentage of families attending. We shared enrollment updates and heard ideas, questions and concerns about potential options and paths forward.

In March 2019, the Board recommended the District collaborate with stakeholders to plan recommendations related to the long-term future of Short School. The Short School Community Taskforce began meeting this year, and includes representatives for parents, teachers, staff, administrators, the Gerstle Park Neighborhood Association, city and county leaders and Board members.

The Taskforce's first charge was to review and discuss the various options, considerations, challenges and opportunities related to the possible closure of the school and to make a recommendation to the Board. After reviewing data, information and personal stories, particularly related to: historical and projected enrollment; engagement with families and staff; the impact of the school's size on the education program; staffing; financial implications; and more the group came to a consensus to recommend to close Short Elementary School after the 2019-20 school year in its current form and to work closely with students, families, teachers and staff to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

Given that the Board has accepted its recommendation to close Short School after this year, the Taskforce will move to its second phase of its charge - to provide a recommendation to the Board on potential options for future use of the Short School facility.

The Board, staff and Taskforce understand this is a very difficult decision that will impact students, families and staff. At the same time, everyone wanted to be very mindful of how the size of a school can impact student learning, family engagement, the overall success of the school community and more when grappling with the recommendation to close the school.
The next regularly-scheduled Board of Education meeting 
is Monday, Oct. 28 at 310 Nova Albion Way. 
Board of Education
Greg Knell, President; Maika Llorens Gulati, Vice President;
Linda M. Jackson; Rachel Kertz; and Natu Tuatagaloa 

Jim Hogeboom