By Kevin Miller
Sun Post Newspapers
The Osseo Area School Board unanimously voted to approve the inclusion of Zanewood Community School in the Northwest Suburban Integration School District consortium’s 2017 Magnet School Assistance program grant application.
If approved, the federal grant would fund the development of a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics magnet program at the school. The grant funding period would be for five years, after which the district would be responsible for sustaining.
Projected sustainability costs are approximately $250,000.
Boardmember Mike Ostaffee said he had wanted to see more specific goals for the program before voting. “One of the things that I saw that was lacking was any specific numbers that we would be asking for, what the specific goals were for this program, and how we were going to measure our achievement or our progress towards those goals,” he said. “I’ve made it clear in the past that these are things that, we need to have proven programs, we need to know that they’re going to work, we need to measure to see that they do work, and if they do, great, we celebrate it, and we try to replicate it,” he said.
“If it doesn’t work, then we can change, cut, and try something different, but we can’t just say ‘we’re going to sustain a failed program,’” Ostaffee added. “We have five years to figure out if its working or not.”
Boardmember Robert Gerhart said he agreed that the district needs to measure the results of the program, and the addition of new options for students and parents in the district is a positive move. “I look at this as having another aspect beyond just the direct curriculum type that’s being chosen for a particular school, and that has one do with choice,” he said. “I think one thing that we’ve heard repeatedly from the community is people want increased choice, and far be it from me to ever say that we should look at a soft result instead of a hard, measurable metric, [but] the idea of being able to give families additional choices within our own district I think has a positive net effect,” he said.
“If I can recall correctly, Zanewood is one of our schools that has experienced declining enrollment,” Boardmember Jessica Craig said. “The really great thing about perhaps being awarded a magnet school grant is we can attract new children, new families to the district and boost enrollment within Zanewood, so again, we will have five years to see [if] the program is successful or not, and I think this is a really great thing for Zanewood in particular,” she said.
Currently, the district sustains six magnet schools: Birch Grove School for the Arts, Weaver Lake, Brooklyn Middle STEAM School, North View Middle IB World School, Osseo Senior High and Park Center Senior High IB World School.
The consortium develops the goals and objectives of the grant application.
Supt. Kate Maguire recommended the board approve this resolution.
Contact Kevin Miller at [email protected]