Small by Design Q&A
Q: How were the new educational options at Mapleton Public Schools developed?
In 2001, Mapleton's leadership - in conjunction with teachers, parents and community leaders - began a search for innovative educational approaches that have been successful in improving student performance elsewhere. We surveyed voters and parents across the District and organized strategic planning teams comprised of staff, teachers, parents, business leaders and community members to create action plans. The teams looked nationwide, examining everything from theme schools to charter schools to small school initiatives to vocational schools. The resulting programs now underway at Mapleton reflect a combination of the best practices being implemented at various personalized education programs around the country.
Q: How should students and their parents go about choosing the right option?
The Welcome Center has everything families need to choose the school that is right for them. Families are also encouraged to visit Mapleton's schools to meet with directors and teachers. Ultimately, the "right" option is the one that best matches each student's own particular interests, goals and dreams for the future. We recommend parents sit down with their children and discuss what the student wants from his or her education.
Q: Is the enrollment for each school limited? What if we don't get our first choice?
Given our experience thus far with our schools that are small-by-design, we anticipate a waiting list for some schools at specific grade levels might ultimately be necessary. If so, enrollment in particularly popular schools will likely be decided using a lottery system.
Q: Do all of the school options have the same academic standards?
Regardless of the school you choose, your student will be held to the same academic rigor and will be expected to meet or exceed established District and state graduation requirements and standards, including state and ACT tests. Despite their different structures and approaches to learning, all of Mapleton's schools will ensure students receive a solid grounding in academic fundamentals, including reading, writing and math.
Q: If a student enrolls in one school and realizes later he/she wants to experience another school design, is it possible to transfer?
Students and parents should make their school choices very seriously. As students and parents learn more about the design they are considering, they will be making a commitment to that particular school because they are interested in the opportunities it is offering. Although we recommend that students remain in the school for a full school year, we will consider requests following the first grading period. Individual situations will be reviewed with the parent as needed to assure the most appropriate choice has been made. Research suggests that once students have committed to one of these learning environments, an overwhelming majority of those students remain with that same school until graduation.
Q: How will the separation into numerous schools affect students who participate in athletics and extracurricular activities? What will it mean socially?
Under the new multi-school structure, all students will still be part of the larger Mapleton community. High school students will play sports, participate in clubs and attend prom and other social events with their friends as part of the Skyview system of high schools. Middle school level activities will be organized at the District level and available to all students in 7th and 8th grades regardless of the school they attend.
Q: How will my child get to school?
The District will continue to provide transportation for all students attending schools more than 1 mile from their homes. Our school district is only 25 square miles, which allows us the opportunity to transport our students across the District. We have identified bus stops throughout the system that will get students to and from their school of choice.
Q: Where can I learn more?
As noted above, Mapleton team members are available to answer any questions you might have. Call or visit the Welcome Center to learn more, 303.853.1780, 8990 York St. Thornton, CO 80229. The Welcome Center is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., no appointment necessary!