Zenith Plan for the Duluth Schools
Click here to see how the Zenith plan compares with the 3 corridor plan

Two High Schools grades 10-12 Denfeld – Zenith (East High)

Chief benefits

    1. $1.2 million in savings
    2. no need to close elementary schools
    3. two high school populations which would have similar distributions of minority populations as opposed the current imbalance in three high schools
    4. deals with the diminished high school population now rather than later

Three Middle Schools grade 7-9 (Morgan Park – Central – Ordean)

Chief benefits

    1. good geographical balance, with one school in the west, center and east
    2. with no sixth graders at the middle schools there will be no contractual conflicts between elementary and secondary teachers
    3. Eliminates need for mixing middle school students with elementary or high school populations
    4. Protects the Morgan Park middle school pilot and may make middle schools possible at all sites with savings from the closing of a high school.
    5. Will provide a middle school for the central area of the city for the first time in ten years

Existing Elementary schools will remain relatively unchanged except for the return of sixth grade students

Chief benefits:

    1. Smaller schools will continue to be an attractive feature for young families moving into town
    2. No fear of losing disgruntled families due the closing of buildings
    3. Allows the district to continue offering elementary school choice for at least as long as the state provides desegregation revenue
    4. In schools with three or four sections of sixth graders the team teaching approach can be taken back to the elementary school by middle school teachers who have had this experience.

Details of plan

    1. No major boundary shifts – the three corridors would be abandoned since they were only a means of funneling students into three high schools
    2. Chester Park would be relocated to Woodland, its status as a lab school would continue
    3. School Administration would be relocated to Woodland Elementary
    4. offer an autumn excess levy referendum which, if passed, would increase state aid (along with local property taxes) thus helping make up for potential reduction of state aid in anticipated K-12 finance plans
    5. A bond referendum would be offered but if rejected would not cripple the district. It would provide for:
    1. addition to Rockridge Elementary allowing for the closing of Lester Park
    2. Swimming Pool for Central Middle School on the Central campus
    3. Additional performance space for Zenith (formerly East) High school

Details to be worked out

    1. Disposition of CAB
    2. Secondary Technical Center considerations eg. would it make sense to relocate some STC classes to the high schools?
    3. Determine whether Central High School or the STC could accommodate Unity School
    4. Alternative plans should bond referendum fail
    5. Determine whether a seven-hour day in the high schools could make up for the lost opportunities due to the closing of one senior high school? – Determine whether a seven-hour day in the high schools is financially feasible at all?

Research necessary prior to implementation of the plan

    1. Before the school year ends elementary sites must determine how (if possible) to accommodate sixth graders and whether additional classrooms will be needed
    2. How would the cost of implementing this plan differ financially from other plans discussed to date?
    3. Determine if ninth graders could benefit from experiencing a middle school environment
    4. How would this plan compare to other plans in terms of meeting the needs of Duluth’s minority population? How would it compare in terms of concentrating or integrating the minority population?

Read my reply to a critic of my proposal