Save Lynwood: NUSD Elementary Schools Face Closure

The front of Lynwood Elementary School Photo Credit:

Joshua Lieberstein, Co-Editor

Lynwood Elementary School is one of three elementary schools in Novato being considered for permanent closure. The decision is being made Wednesday (April 21st) and as it stands, the 7-11 committee is leaning towards closing Lynwood, over the other two options.

If Lynwood were to close, over 250 students would have to relocate to a new school. With 43% of the Lynwood student body classified as English Language Learners (ELL’s), their Dual Immersion program was designed to help integrate immigrants and children who don’t speak English as their first language. Created in 2018, the program has only been in motion for three years, but it’s full efficacy was halted due to the pandemic. 

The location of Lynwood is near a variety of neighborhoods with varying socioeconomic conditions. It is within walking distance of Leafwood Drive, one of the lowest income areas in Novato, and a neighborhood with a very high Latinx population. This neighborhood, along with nearby lower-income housing, puts Lynwood as the second highest school in NUSD for reduced or free lunches with 67.7% of the student population. Additionally, Lynwood has the highest amount of students who walk to school, at 31%, according to Safe Routes to Schools. Both of these factors will make it very difficult to relocate the students attending the school if it were to close.

Lynwood has the lowest test scores in the district for elementary schools, but these scores should not be considered as many of the ELL’s at the school were not able to learn the content and struggled with the standardized tests (prior to the Dual Immersion program). Now, because of the Dual Immersion program, students will have a much better understanding of the content. There haven’t been enough test scores gathered to see if the Dual Immersion program will raise test scores, and with the amount of work put into creating the program, closing it prematurely could have long-lasting effects. 

If the committee chooses to close Lynwood, all of the bonds and education that the ELL’s have received in their few years at Lynwood will be potentially wasted, as the program needs to be attended for the entirety of elementary school in order to work effectively. Not only will the ELL community be impacted, but the other low-income students will also be hurt. They could struggle to find a new school, as the next closest school, Rancho, doesn’t have the capacity nor is it close enough to walk to for the students living further out on South Novato Boulevard. 

The petition page explains the current situation facing the Lynwood community:

“Student success, especially with already marginalized learners, is delicate — with any small crack, it can shatter. Extra steps to getting to school, combined with the loss of your community, all without knowing the same level English as your peers, is not some small drop that makes a small crack. It’s throwing a student’s potential for success off a cliff.” 

If you want to help save Lynwood please sign this petition and get the word out: