January 2, 2013

Dear Cabot Community:

I hope you had a restful and peaceful holiday break. Last month, Assistant Superintendents Cindy Bergan and Joe Russo and several School Committee members joined me in two meetings with the Cabot community to discuss our middle school enrollment challenges.

As many of you are aware, our enrollment has grown significantly over the past nine years and is expected to continue to increase over the next five. The soon to be completed addition at Day Middle School will give us much needed space at the middle school level. However, Bigelow does not have sufficient space for the large sixth grade class that is slated to attend next year. Given that Cabot is currently split with 52% of students attending Day and 48% attending Bigelow, the meetings served as an excellent vehicle to explore some options with the Cabot community.

We discussed a number of possibilities at the meetings including redrawing the district lines to send a larger portion of the Cabot students to Day and establishing a buffer zone where the district would make student assignment decisions on a yearly basis depending on space available. An overwhelming majority of parents in attendance expressed great concern about both of these options. We also heard from a number of parents who asked if we would consider ending the long-standing Cabot split. This feedback has guided us to consider some other ideas.

Since we still anticipate space issues at Bigelow both next year and in the future, we need to make sure that our middle school enrollment patterns result in equitable team and class sizes. We plan to make a recommendation in this regard to the School Committee on January 14th to ensure that there is ample time for planning. In order to gain maximum input from families prior to making a formal recommendation, we would like to hold another meeting to discuss an alternative that we are seriously considering.

The meeting will be held next Tuesday, January 8th at 8:30 a.m., in the school cafeteria. We recognize that not everyone will be able to attend and we will provide other opportunities for feedback. I will also do everything possible to keep the Cabot community well informed as we move forward.

Thank you very much for your understanding and consideration and I look forward to our on-going work together.

Sincerely,

David Fleishman
Superintendent of Schools

DAF/mb