Boston Public Schools has proposed shifting around three Dorchester schools to open up space for more young learners in the next school year.
The school district laid out the plan Tuesday in a letter addressed to the schools’ families.
Under the plan, the Lee Academy Pilot School on Talbot Avenue would be moved to the Fifield building on Dunbar Avenue; the Early Childhood Center at the Fifield building would be merged into the Lee Academy Pilot School, and the Joseph Lee School would remain at its current location on Talbot.
The moves, if approved by the School Committee, would allow the school system to create more classes for kindergarten-second grade students and early learners. The Boston Globe recently highlighted the search the district is conducting to find more space for the projected influx of younger students, especially those with learning disabilities.
The Lee Academy Pilot School's proposed new location was recently renovated, according to BPS, and the added space would allow the school to add additional K2 and first-grade classes. Autistic students, however, would not have to leave the school's current location and would be able to stay until the eighth-grade at the Joseph Lee School.
The Early Childhood Center would merge with the Lee Academy Pilot School. Pre-K students with autism would be offered placement at the Joseph Lee School. Early Childhood students in integrated or substantially separate programs would also have the opportunity to be placed at either the Joseph Lee School or Lee Academy Pilot School.
The Joseph Lee School, which would remain in its current building, would create a preschool to eighth-grade autism strand and will also add pre-Kl/K1 inclusion classrooms and general education K2 and first-grade classrooms.
The changes would start in the fall of 2013 pending approval by the School Committee, which is slated to vote on the proposal, Jan. 30.
If approved current students at the Lee Academy Pilot School would receive “choice forms” this month asking if they would like to remain with the Lee Academy Pilot School after it moves or transfer to the Joseph Lee School, the letter said.
First-grade students at the Lee Academy Pilot School would automatically continue to the Joseph Lee School second-grade program. Autistic students who are in substantially-separate placements will be offered placement at the Joseph Lee School this fall.
Early Childhood Center students will also receive “choice forms” asking if they want to remain in the building as part of the Lee Academy Pilot School or if they want to move to the Joseph Lee School.
All Early Childhood Center students would be guaranteed a seat at either the Lee Academy Pilot School or the Joseph Lee School, the letter said.
K1 students at the Early Childhood Center who don’t want to attend either the Lee Academy Pilot School or the Joseph Lee School would have priority at other K2 schools in their walk-zone.
Joseph Lee School students would not have to take any action to remain in their school.
Several open houses have been scheduled at the schools for curious parents.
The Joseph Lee School and Lee Academy will hold open houses at the Lee Complex located at 155 Talbot Ave. on Friday, Jan. 18, from 7:30a.m.-8:30a.m. and from 11:30.a.m-12:30p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 19, from 9a.m.-9:45am and from 9:45a.m.-10:30a.m.; and Tuesday, Jan. 22, from 10:30a.m.-11:30a.m. and from 4:30p.m.-5:30p.m.
The Lee Academy will also hold an open house at the Fifield located at 25 Dunbar Ave. on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 11:30a.m.-1p.m. and on Jan. 23 and 24 from 7:30a.m.9:30a.m. and from 3:30p.m-4:30p.m.