Overland Park parents learn some of their children will be forced to change schools

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Imagine telling your child they have to leave their friends and teachers for another school. That's what a letter says that was sent home to some parents in the Shawnee Mission School District on Monday, May 19.

Overcrowding is a huge problem in Overland Park elementary schools. Last month Superintendent Jim Hinson heard from concerned parents about how overcrowding would affect their children next year.

We now know a letter was sent home on Monday that says some students will be forced to move.

Starting in the fall students who attend Brookridge and Briarwood elementary schools on in-district transfers will be returned to the school in their home areas. Exceptions will be made for incoming 6th graders who want to finish at the school. Siblings of those children won't be able to stay. Superintendent Hinson asked parents last month what they wanted to see happen.

"How do we accommodate for student growth so we're not having this conversation two years down the road?" Hinson asked. "So long term -- again -- this doesn't solve our issue here, but would you like the district to look at 6, 7, 8 middle schools? Is that what I'm hearing from you?"

A boundary change is also taking effect for Brookridge students.

Many parents are upset that it has come to this. Two years ago Nrookridge took in more than 100 students from a nearby school that closed.

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  • Mark B

    LOL, Mike. EVERYONE else in the world changes, moves, evolves, adjusts to things changing around them. The reaction of the parents just strengthens the rest of the greater Kansas City areas opinion of the Johnson County elitist attitude. – I hope you weren’t implying that I am not well educated :) No, hard feelings. I was just making an observation.

  • Renee A.

    Guess what, this happens in all large districts…and, wait for it, OUR KIDS SURVIVED. Alas, residing outside the JOCO boundary renders our lives useless. I suppose I’ll take my 3rd grade education and get on with my life while my poor children suffer through living in Missouri…my dream is for them to grow up and move to JOCO and become real people….and play lots of soccer.

  • Gary P.

    I am formerly from WYCO and now live in Overland Park. No, it’s not the end of the world for these kids, but it is an inconvenience. Let’s not pretend that you wouldn’t be upset if your kids had developed friendships and were now forced to attend a different school. It’s not an elitist attitude. It’s an issue that anyone could face and happens everywhere. Life goes on.

  • Connie Pop

    Life does go on and children do need to adapt to changes. But, put yourself in the shoes of an 8 year old having to change schools and make new friends. It might be easy for some, but not for everyone.

    The district caused this issue with poor management and poor planning. Now, are the 5 remaining middle schools going to be able to handle the increase in attendance as these children move on? Probably not. This district has been mismanaged for years.

  • Renee A.

    As I said, my kids did face this, actually TWICE in our district. They actually did just fine because lots of their friends transferred as well- since let’s face it, it’s certainly NOT the parents being inconvenienced that’s the issue, it’s because their “friends aren’t transferring”…. I do realize that not being from JOCO our children and our lives don’t matter.

  • Melody Gardner

    One suggestion: the Parkhill School Dist. has one building for 6th grade, and two Jr. highs — Lakeview and Congress. I home schooled until last year, and didn’t think I would like that system, however, both my daughter and myself loved Plaza Middle School. I think it made a wonderful transition from elementary to regular 7th and 8th grade. There is a HUGE difference between 6th and 8th grade kids in maturity and the way they act. It must work because if you look at the “Great Schools” ratings they are all 9s, and both high schools were in the top 15 in MO. It seems that considering a model that has success would be a good idea.

  • JOCO Mom

    When we first moved to OP we lived in the Brookridge district. When we moved to a different part of OP we were in a different district. We were allowed to stay at Brookridge, but we knew this was always a possibility. Now my 3rd grade son will be transferring next fall to our home school. We sat him down and told him last night and he said “OK can I ride my bike to school now that I will be close to my school”. Fast forward to today at the play day I am sitting with a big group of kids and talking about who is having to change schools and a little girl says “I am moving too”. I asked where and she said “I don’t know yet, I am a foster kid and I am going to a new family”. My point is that kids are so incredibly resilient! All these kiddos will be just fine, it is one of many life lessons. If parents get upset over the transfer they need to keep things in perspective. At least their child is fortunate enough not to be shuffled between foster homes.

    • Mark B

      Amen! That is my point. Kids go through A LOT! Moving, loss of a parent, friends moving away, new classes and new teacher every year. It’s the whole, “Parents outraged” issue, that I have a problem with. Changing from one school to another is NOT the end of the world, regardless of your feelings about the district. If your child changing from one school to another is so devastating, and the biggest issue in your life, be darn thankful.

  • Scott

    There are some really bitter people that don’t like the good people of JOCO.
    God forbid someone want’s their kids education to have some structure. There is a reason that our schools are so great and one of them is because the parents in general care about what happens to the schools and to their kids.
    The immaturity of some of these posters in concerning, but I know the good outweigh the bad, so I’m not to concerned. Will they survive? of course, but the less they have to worry about and the less drama in their eduction the better. They’ll have plenty of time to figure out how hard life can be when they are adults. For now let them be kids, get a good education and if we’re lucky they’ll contribute in a positive manner to society.

  • Elizabeth

    This is an opportunity to learn how to handle change when you are young and have the security of your parents and home to help you through. The only way kids learn to negotiate difficulties is to try it out early and often.
    No point in them growing up thinking that their happiness depends on keeping everything outside of them just the way they like it. The parents need to use their wisdom to help the kids understand that in the grand scheme of things this is a minor problem, and you have a good cry and move on.

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