The story in today’s paper mentions a handful of ideas for correcting the racial imbalance in our schools, all attributed to unnamed officials:
* Establishing longer school days and longer school years for Smith and Charter Oak.
* Expanding student supervision from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. by creating more before- and after-school programs.
* Launching a new magnet theme at Charter Oak. Officials say the global studies theme is outdated now that most schools offer expanded language education.
* Changing Charter Oak to a K-8 school whose appeal would be smaller class sizes and programs for gifted and talented students. The school, like Smith, currently serves pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.
* Working with the state and the Children’s Museum to build a new, regional magnet elementary school that would reserve a majority of its spots for West Hartford students, but also draw pupils from the whole Hartford region. School officials say the state would pay 95 percent of the costs for such a project.
* School officials also must weigh what to do with Norfeldt. Several officials questioned how much longer the north-end school, which serves a nearly 80 percent white population, and a significant population of special-needs students, will continue to offer its magnet program.
I’m especially intrigued with the Children’s Museum option, given that it needs to move and putting the new building in Elmwood would serve a variety of useful purposes. If it could be tied to a new school, so much the better (though I wouldn’t want to see the existing Charter Oak School abandoned because it’s a gem).