Keep District 15 Twins Together for Middle School

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Stephanie Becker
Stephanie Becker signed this petition

The new District 15 diversity initiative is an amazing opportunity to transform the educational opportunities of all middle school students in our district regardless of race and income.  We support the initiative. But we have some significant concerns regarding the effect it will have on twins and urge the DOE to allow families the option to keep twins together in middle school.  The new system allows for children to be placed at eleven different options, making it much less likely that twins would be placed together. We urge the DOE to consider our reasons below for a twin together system:   

1) Supports mental health and ease transitions for twins: Twins are typically closer to one another than any other person in their life, particularly in K - 8. Many parents of twins we've spoken to are very worried that forcing their kids to go to separate schools (or not having the choice to send their kids to go to the same school) will seriously undermine the stability of their children's lives. We all know that middle school is a tough time for all kids. It seems we would want to help support kids in whatever way we can during these 3 years of physical, emotional and educational transition.

2) Maintains diversity: Without screened schools, all children (twins and singletons) are being randomly placed in middle schools. Providing the option to keep twins together will not mean that twin children will hoard spaces at typically over-subscribed, historically popular schools. 

3) Increases family involvement: Many twin parents are doubly involved in their elementary schools.  They play active roles in their children’s classrooms and in their PTAs. If their children are split between schools, it will be very difficult for them to take leadership roles.  This is even more challenging for low-income families that often have limited time and resources. Keeping twins together ensures that families will have time to attend events at school and stay involved with their children’s teachers.  

4) Follows the lead of K-12 schools that support of sibling preference: In 2018, the DOE changed the system in K-8 and K-12 schools, allowing for younger siblings to be placed in the same schools as their middle school-aged siblings in order to “ in order to allow for greater consistency and continuity.” The DOE acknowledges that keeping families together is helpful.  

5) Keeps students in the traditional public school system.  Charter schools focus on keeping families together and sibling/twin preference.  Many twin parents that would rather send their kids to traditional public schools are applying to charters in order to keep their kids together. 

6) Make the system fair and transparent.  After they receive placement, some parents of twins have been able to complain to the DOE and have successfully been able to place their twins in the school. Unfortunately, there is not a standard process and many families, particularly in low-income communities are not aware of this method.  Changing the policy and instituting a twin together policy would allow for greater equity across the board. 

We thank you for your time and consideration and hope you will institute a twin together policy for District 15 middle school students.