Dear Hillcrest Community,
If you have yet to read tonight’s OUSD communication about Hillcrest Middle School, please read the ParentSquare communication that was sent at 6:30pm tonight. Hillcrest’s 6th - 8th grades are on OUSD’s list for potential consolidation (i.e., elimination of these grades at Hillcrest) by fall 2023.
Please reach out to all the school board directors with your opposition to this plan - eliminating these grade levels from Hillcrest will not address the issues that the consolidations are trying to solve.
The timeline is very short, so please send your emails soon, ideally this weekend if at all possible. The OUSD school board will be discussing the consolidation recommendations this coming Monday, 1/31/22, and they will vote the following Tuesday, 2/8/22. We encourage you to also attend and comment on those meetings. Meeting information will be sent shortly.
School board directors are:
Please see below for suggested communication points. (Feel free to copy and paste the below in your emails to the board directors and others.)
Neda Burapavong (current PTA president)
Erika Feller (past PTA president)
RE: OUSD’s recommendations for school consolidations - Hillcrest (grades 6-8)
Communications from OUSD’s leadership team have consistently stated two reasons for recommending school consolidations: (1) to improve the district’s financial situation, which has been harmed by reduced enrollment; and (2) to support strong student outcomes.
Eliminating Hillcrest’s 6th - 8th grades will not aid in either of these goals; it will only exacerbate enrollment losses and further impact the district’s finances in a negative way:
- Eliminating grades 6-8 from the school will NOT result in any building maintenance cost savings or administrative cost savings – Hillcrest is a K-8, not two separate schools. The California Department of Education has assigned it one CDS number, it has one entrance, and it has one administration. Further, an assumption that elimination of grades 6-8 will result in efficient expansion of K-5 is false. The four classrooms currently occupied by grades 6-8 are insufficient facilities to sustainably expand grades K-5.
- OUSD enrollment numbers will FURTHER DECLINE if Hillcrest’s 6th - 8th grades are eliminated – Years of data demonstrate that Hillcrest 5th graders who do not attend Hillcrest for 6th - 8th grades are very rarely retained in OUSD. Offering 6th - 8th grades at Hillcrest keeps those students in the district who would otherwise go elsewhere, whether it be a charter school, private school, or another district.
- Hillcrest students are well-prepared for high school and have strong academic outcomes – Hillcrest offers a solid instructional program, including electives and social-emotional instruction. In addition to the core subjects (ELA, Math, Science, and History), all students participate in Restorative Justice, P.E., and Outdoor Education. Electives include Spanish, Art, and Computer Technology. After-school sports teams include cross-country, flag football, and basketball, and all are open to any interested student.
Given that eliminating grade levels from Hillcrest would not resolve the intended goals of consolidation and would likely worsen the fiscal situation, please vote no on this consolidation recommendation.