Save Asheville Primary School (the building, the Preschool and the Montessori school)

Save Asheville Primary School (the building, the Preschool and the Montessori school)

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Asheville Primary Community - Asheville Preschool and Primary School started this petition to Asheville City Schools Board of Education and

Update 12/12/21 (We are asking for option 1.)

From the district- “The Board will hold the Public Hearing continuation on December 13th, 2021 beginning at 5:00 PM in the Board Room located at 85 Mountain Street.  The Regular Meeting of the Board will begin immediately following the conclusion of the Public Hearing.  

The purpose of the Public Hearing is for the Board to continue to receive input related to the following Asheville Primary School options:

1.Keep Asheville Primary School at its current physical location for the 2022-23 school year.
2.Relocate Asheville Primary School to the campus of either Hall Fletcher Elementary School or Montford North Star Academy effective beginning with the 2022-23 school year.
3.Close Asheville Primary School as early as the 2022-23 school year, and enroll the students impacted at existing ACS schools using existing enrollment policies.


No action will be taken at the public hearing.  However, action regarding the three options listed above WILL be on the agenda of the Regular Meeting.”

 

 

{Background: Asheville Primary School (APS) is an Asheville City School (ACS) building that currently houses two programs- The Asheville City Preschool (a 5 Star preschool program that benefits some of Asheville’s most vulnerable families) and Asheville Primary (a public Montessori school). The district has proposed selling the building and redistributing the programs to other spaces. They propose downsizing  Asheville Primary to a program and moving it into Hall Fletcher Elementary School. They are proposing to move the Preschool classes to unknown spaces around the district.}

Join us to prevent a short-sighted dissolution of two fully-enrolled and successful programs within ACS and the sale of the campus on Haywood Road in West Asheville. The families, staff, and supportive community of Asheville Primary School feel that the decision to sell the building at 441 Haywood Rd. and redistribution of the Asheville City Preschool and public Montessori school currently housed there to other spaces is short-sighted and is being made hastily without a long-term plan for what is best for the community. Stakeholders’ requests for an open dialogue with district leadership and Board of Education Members have been denied. These drastic decisions that impact the entire Asheville community should not be made during a pandemic, under new leadership, and without stakeholder involvement. Transparency is needed on what the actual costs and repairs are and about why this agenda is being rammed through right now.

  • We request that all decisions regarding the selling of the building be put off for a minimum of 2 years. The district has already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into renovations and should continue to renovate the space instead of sacrificing a long-term asset for a short term gain. During that time both programs should be able to keep full occupancy of the building. The community of West Asheville would be greatly altered if the school was sold to a private buyer or developer. The school currently serves the needs of our community by offering free and affordable high quality preschool options to some of our most vulnerable families.
  • We request that the Preschool and Montessori programs remain intact and continue to benefit from shared space and collaboration between the exceptional educators of both programs.
  • We request that we preserve the 7 highly effective, 5-Star preschool classrooms on the Asheville Primary campus while continuing to branch out with additional satellite classrooms at other ACS elementary schools or other community locations that best serve Asheville’s 3 and 4 year olds.
  • We request that the Montessori program be expanded to 4th grade for the 2021-2022 school year and 5th grade for the 2022-2023 school year. Keeping our current 3rd graders in the school through 5th grade will allow the district to collect data on students who have benefited from Montessori learning since Kindergarten. This data will be essential for the district to see the benefits of public Montessori when making decisions regarding the future of the program.
  • We request open enrollment in APS Montessori, not limited to just siblings of current APS students so we can obtain accurate longitudinal data on a fully functioning public Montessori school. Public Montessori schools across the US have shown positive outcomes in closing the opportunity gap, especially increasing positive outcomes for students of low-income backgrounds. We request that the district fully commit to Asheville Primary Montessori as a pre-K to 5th grade school, joining the ranks of the rest of the public elementary schools in the district's magnet program, instead of downgrading it and limiting enrollment and therefore limiting the ability for accurate longitudinal data.

There has been significant investment in this building over the past 5 years including a new playground, a new parking lot, a new media center, new gym roof, cafeteria updates and mold abatement and office renovations. Yes, the building has issues but the staff of both programs love the space, the natural light, the safe outdoor access, outdoor classroom spaces, and more.

What happens in a few years post-Covid when ACS is again bursting at the seams and this building has been sold? We all know property within Asheville City limits is not inexpensive or easy to come by. Please take a look at this issue, insist on a 5-10 year plan for ACS, and don't let a short-sighted plan to rectify a budget deficit allow this hasty plan to move forward. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!