School board could vote on flagships in spring

Newport-Mesa Unified School District officials are almost done gathering public input on the possibility of assigning each school zone a flagship program that students could focus on throughout their academic careers.

Since November, school officials have hosted meetings where they have asked parents, students and teachers if they would like to see specialty programs and what subjects they would prefer.

Each zone — Estancia, Costa Mesa, Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar — could potentially pick a signature academic and arts subject offered from elementary school through high school.

Students could then pick zones based on their desired focus.

But the district has asked for input before it decides, and at Tuesday night's school board meeting, officials announced they're almost done gathering opinions.

By March 15, they will have hosted 36 meetings and spoken to roughly 1,400 people about the idea, Newport-Mesa spokeswoman Laura Boss told the board.

"The engagement that has come from the folks in the room has been, I think, the best part," she said.

Two meetings remain, one at Davis Magnet School, 1050 Arlington Drive, Costa Mesa, at 8:15 a.m. Thursday and another at Corona del Mar High School, 2101 Eastbluff Drive, Newport Beach, at 6 p.m. March 6.

Parents and students who can't attend can take a survey at

District staff will sift through the feedback and come to the school board with recommendations about the programs sometime in the spring, Boss said.

School board member David Brooks encouraged students to speak up.

"This is a time that we are designing high schools for the 21st century," he said. "This is a time that student input is really important, so there aren't just adults designing things for students."

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

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