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  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks

Growing Together: Increasing Equity and Access in DPS Programs

October 21, 2021

This information was initially published by Durham Public Schools. You can read about the project on their site here.

This December, the Durham Public Schools Board of Education will vote on a new magnet policy for elementary schools. DPS is seeking the community’s input into this important and necessary update affecting students beginning with the 2023-24 school year. This change in policy aims to increase families’ access to high-quality academic programming and improve operational efficiency, all supporting a more equitable educational experience for our students.

The 2018-2023 DPS Strategic Plan

Developed with student, community, and educator input, engagement, and participation, the 2018-23 DPS Strategic Plan establishes the mission, vision, and core beliefs for Durham Public Schools.

Mission: Durham Public Schools embraces, educates, and empowers every student to innovate, serve, and lead.

Vision: Durham Public Schools: Igniting Limitless Potential

About the DPS Magnet Program

Currently, DPS offers magnet program instruction and lottery admission at 23 of 52 schools (43% of all DPS Students). There are 10 Magnet Elementary Schools, 7 Magnet Middle Schools, and 6 Magnet High Schools.

In 2016, DPS created the Magnet Review Initiative to further define, evaluate and improve our system of student assignment to achieve greater efficiency, access, and equity. This work will help us shape updates and revisions to Policy 4150 directly related to our magnet programs.

In conjunction with the Magnet Program Priority Zones, the existing system of School Boundaries comprise the geographic layer that the Office of Student Assignment considers for the purposes of assigning students to schools.

The growth and development of Durham, both in size and demographic shifts, is not presently reflected in the existing collection of DPS school boundaries. Nor are the State of North Carolina legislated requirements for Class Size in Kindergarten thru 3rd Grade (HB90). Moreover, the new construction of schools and the renovation and expansion of additional schools will help to alleviate the severe overcrowding at 22 of 30 Elementary Schools (73%).

You are invited to attend DPS’s Growing Together engagement series to share your feedback. From October 26 through November 10, DPS is hosting sessions that will share possible scenarios for magnet program placement along with a draft of the rewritten policy based in part on initial feedback from the early meetings. 

Watch the video below (in English & Spanish), then sign up to attend a virtual or in-person session – – to have your voice heard!


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