School Committee to Decide New Lines for Elementary Schools

The committee will vote on the proposal at Wednesday evening's meeting.


With three elementary schools with room for additional students and the Oakdale Elementary School at capacity, the Dedham School Committee will consider Wednesday new district lines for incoming first graders for the upcoming school year.

All four elementary schools will be effected with students moving out of the district and into either , the new  or .

"We are trying to even out enrollments," said committee member Mayanne Briggs said.

The committee will meet Wednesday at 7 p.m. at .

The changes will not effect any students currently enrolled in one of the elementary schools or any incoming first grader with a sibling enrolled in one of the elementary schools, Briggs said Tuesday.

"It's a gradual process," she said, estimating that less than 20 families will be effected for the upcoming school year.

"It is a rolling change. We are not taking students out of their current school and moving them," said Briggs, a member of the policy sub-committee.

As population shifts, the committee said its policy sub-committee will look at district lines every two years from now on. Briggs stressed that the shift in school district lines doesn't relate to the t.

The district and the Massachusetts School Building Authority agreed that the district would increase enrollment at the new Avery Elementary School.

"Some schools are extra full and others have dropping enrollments," Briggs said.

The policy sub-committee's proposed changes under consideration are attached as a PDF to this article.

Missy March 21, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I imagine that's a total disappointment for some...when buying a home, sometimes one of the major considerations is what elementary school your child will attend. I'd be pretty upset if I purcashed a home thinking my young children will attend Oakdale (which has a great reputation), only to find out now they have to go elsewhere...
steve March 21, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Terrible that is why I moved from oakdale over the winter the people who make these choices are idiots . Its not our problem they built a school to big. But this is dedham for you
Andrew March 22, 2012 at 02:15 PM
I think my property value just dropped another 20%.
Lisa Moran March 22, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I have friends that have children at each of the elementary schools in Dedham.....and guess what? They are all doing the same things! The curriculum is aligned. As I said when I spoke at the meeting last night, the re-districting does NOT affect me...I don't even know if our street is being moved. My youngest is graduating this June. And he will PROUDLY be the first graduating class from the new Avery School. If you watched any of the SC meeting last night, you heard me say how when it was time for my oldest to go to 1st grade, people told us "use your Mom's address. Don't send him to Avery". We contiplated that but what would that be teaching him...to lie??? Going to Avery was one of the best desicions we have made as Parents. Avery is truly a life lesson every day - there are 15 languages spoken there, there are people of various races & all economic backgrounds. Your child will get a WONDERFUL education at ANY othese four schools. Kids are resciliant and will excel wherever they are. I am on the PTO Board of Avery and we were fortunate to have a personal tour of the school last week. It is state of the art and absolutely beautiful. My biggest regret about the school is that my son will only be at the school for 40 1/2 days!! As a tax payer in this Town, I voted for the new school because that was the RIGHT thing to do. At the time, we didn't think we would get the use of it. And when Oakdale needs to be redone, we will vote YES then too!
Lisa Moran March 22, 2012 at 04:08 PM
And I just want to add what someone said to me after I spoke. She stopped me & said that she used to work in real estate / refinancing. According to her, it does not matter what school the child is going to. My husband & I just refinanced in November...and guess what? Our value was appraiser higher than we expected! And we are Avery! And I said above, I have friends across Town...and my house is bigger than alot of them & valued at more. I believe I heard last night that the school was built with the capacity of 310 students becasue it had something to do with the 50% reimbursement from the State. Kids nowadays are exposed to so much discrimination based on numerous things...as adults, lets not be part of that because of a school that a child goes to. And please remember, Avery kids have won the Spelling Bee numerous times, as well as having the Valadictorian at the high school. They are not inferior kids / students.
Edna March 22, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Lisa you are missing the point. The school board planned all this in private, then announced it the day before the vote. Then postponed the vote because they couldnt' get away with it. "It" does not mean putting more kids in Avery. "It" is doing all this with absolutely zero community engagement, with some arbitrary lines that will dramatically change neighborhoods. I'm glad you're passionate about Avery, good for you, but liking Avery doesn't have anything to do with the School Board bungling this so badly that parents were in tears in the School Committee meeting.
Avon Barksdale March 22, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Nice calling the people "idiots" who dedicated hundreds of hours to this project without pay. The Avery School is beautiful and its size is not the problem. The school was built to accommodate the number of students needed to ensure that the four elementary schools could accommodate all children and maintain low class sizes across the board. Everyone knew from the beginning of the project that redistricting would be part of the bargain in order to maintain neighborood schools. As far as property values go, if homes had been redistricted into the OLD Avery district, maybe people would have a point. But saying that values will drop because your kids will attend a fantastic modern facility with all kinds of great resources ... that might indeed border on "idiocy." So your precious children will be in classes with some poor kids from East Dedham, guess what - those same kids will be in with your adorable angels in middle school and high school, so get used to it. And talk to the principals of those schools - plenty of troublemakers who spent their elementary years at Oakdale and Greenlodge ("oh but not MY child, NEVER!!!").
Lisa Moran March 22, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I do think, from what I heard last night, that perhaps things should have been handled differently & maybe on a more personal basis. And I only say perhaps because I am not one of the ones who was working on it nor am I one that it affects....so I truly don't know what happened, etc. I have not been paying attention to their meetings, etc....My only concern (and it was what I was trying to convey here) was when someone spoke & recalled that her friends told her that "friends don't let you buy in Avery neighborhood" and that Avery had a very negative reputation. This is when I had to get up. We are forever working to get the positive word out there.........I am not taking a stand for or against the School Committe / Administration. I am just sticking up for our beloved Avery. We had a lot of parents upset while watching last night. It's not an easy situation & unfortunately not everyone will be happy with whatever the outcome. But, should someone "have to" go to Avery, they will be happy the did. I hope for the best for all.
Avon Barksdale March 22, 2012 at 06:08 PM
October 14, 2007 "Doe said school redistricting would likely not mean radical changes in which students attend each school, but would probably involve more subtle 'tweaks' of the neighborhood lines." http://www.dailynewstranscript.com/news/x273981156 Redistricting following Avery construction has been on the table since even beofre this article was printed in 2007. The issue has come up over and over again throughout the construction process. Here's Andy Lawlor, who headed the school building committee, in 2009: "After the new Avery opens in 2012, the school department plans to adjust the lines so that over time about thirty children who would otherwise have gone to Oakdale will go to the new Avery School. This way overcrowding at Oakdale will be eased, and about thirty more children will get to be educated at a brand new facility." Who's the one who's disengaged with his/her community?
Avon Barksdale March 22, 2012 at 06:11 PM
And just because people got all upset and started to cry doesn't mean the school committee "bungled" anything. Those same people would have been just as angry and not accepting of the decision if the head of the school committee had met with them individually at each of their homes over coffee. They're mad at the result, not the method.
Jessica Porter March 22, 2012 at 08:32 PM
I was at the meeting last night and I heard comments along a few themes. Certainly there were some people, though a minority, who were concerned specifically about being moved to Avery based on a negative perception of that school's past performance. I heard many others, though, including myself and my neighbors, who were excited about being redistricted to Avery but upset about the process and unclear on the logic behind which streets had been moved to different districts. Looking at the proposed map, there are a few spots which seem illogical and it would be nice to hear what criteria Ms Doe used to draw the lines. She was not able to provide this last night, which I think led to further frustration and distrust in the process.
Edna March 22, 2012 at 10:36 PM
They're not just mad at the result. The resident who was told "friends don't let friends buy Avery" called June Doe this year to ask about Oakdale and was told that was where her son was going. If this was all so transparent and open, why was she not told about the plan? Avon Barksdale, everyone knew "there will be tweaks". But the committee already had 50-60 streets picked out, creating some really strange neighbhorhood bubbles, and didn't tell anyone in town until the day before the planned vote. That is not good governance.
karen March 22, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Avon, it;s possible that some of these families did not even live in Dedham in 2007. This is an important decision for parents and they deserve to be able to make informed decisions..
Chris March 24, 2012 at 02:05 AM
I agree. It is about the process. Members of the school committee do volunteer their time but they are elected, not appointed officials. Their first obligation is to the tax-payers and students. Posting a proposal online is not sufficient public notice. Nor was the superintendent's carefully worded phone call designed to make people believe the zone changes would only affect 11 incoming first-graders. If this wasn't a dishonest maneuver then it's the result of incompetence or indifference. When asked to answer to the public, the SC and superintendent had no statistical evidence to support their proposal. Either they haven't done the research, haven't explored other options, or don't feel the public is entitled to this information.
Concerned Citizen March 26, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Great Steve, so let's just close the borders and not let anyone else in. Are you truly that close minded? This is "Dedham for you". A great place to live! But, if you're discontent, it's a buyers market out there!
steve March 27, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Concerned citizen I am entitled to my opinion I have lived in dedham for 30 years and the decisions that are made are getting worse and worse. They are making decisions without talking to the taxpayers first that's a big deal to spring up 2 days before the meeting. We pay a crazy amount of taxes in this town including that school so if I didn't move from my old address and had been forced to have my child go to Avery instead of oakdale I would be a lot more angry and vocal.I don't think its fair to a person to buy in oakdale and then be forced to a different school . They didn't have to build so big shame on the town for poor planning but don't tell me I have to move schools keep the districts the same plain and simple
Dan O'Neil May 03, 2012 at 01:22 PM
The bottom line is the schools are over crowded and the old Avery was not fit for having a school there. Why are some of you living in the 60's still? To some of you everyone from East Dedham is white trash or poor or a loser or a minority or a thug or some type of lowlife trouble maker. Some of you label us these things. I'm from East Dedham and I graduated college and I have a decent job making a decent living. Technically that school is in Oakdale. Realistically the kids go to school for 5 years at the elementary level and in MS and HS they all get put together for a longer legnth of time anyways. Get over yourselves. It makes a nice town lousy when you have stuff like this going on. That school is brand new and you should be honored your kids get to go there instead of all the negativity spewed here.
Joseph July 17, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I must be poor or white trash if I live in East Dedham? Anyone want to come over for a weekend to my palace? Believe me you won't want to leave.


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