Welcome to the "Optional Zone FAQ" page!
The questions and answers below are presented to provide parents/guardians of 5th grade students who reside in the Optional Attendance Zone catchment area with relevant information to assist them in determining whether or not to exercise the choice to have their child attend North Middle School rather than South Middle School.
The Great Neck Public Schools Optional Attendance Zone is an area of the District where families of current 5th grade students who are living in the Baker and Saddle Rock catchment areas and zoned to attend South Middle School may elect to have their elementary school age children attend North Middle School instead. It was established by the Board of Education in order to balance the enrollments among the secondary schools and is reviewed on an annual basis. Ideally, between 35 and 40 students each year will exercise the choice to attend North Middle School. A map of the Optional Attendance Zone appears below.
The Board of Education reviews school enrollments and determines whether or not the Optional Attendance Zone will continue on an annual basis. Although there is no assurance that the practice will continue in future years, those Baker and Saddle Rock families that choose North Middle School for their current 5th grade children are assured that younger siblings will have the opportunity to attend the same secondary school as their older siblings.
The instructional programs at North Middle School and South Middle School are substantially the same. Each school follows the required New York State curriculum for middle school students which includes units of study in Art, English, Family and Consumer Sciences, Foreign Languge (Chinese, French, Latin, Spanish, and Hebrew*), Health, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Science, Social Studies, and Technology. Both schools assign students to one of several grade-level instructional teams which have common teachers for the four core subjects. All 8th grade students take Regents Earth Science for high school credit. Both schools provide the opportunity for acceleration in mathematics (Algebra I) for qualified 8th grade students. Both schools offer a variety of encore/elective courses which are typically available to 8th grade students.
The most significant differences in the programs are:
-In 6th grade, North Middle School dedicates two periods of instruction to English/Language Arts/Reading while South Middle School has one period of English/Languages Arts and "a daily flex period in which different areas of study are emphasized based upon team needs."
-South Middle School currently places students into a small advisory groups which meet every other week throughout the year.
For more specific program information, see:
*at North Middle School only
You may visit each of our secondary schools for any of the many after-hours public events that each school hosts throughout the year. January events at each of our secondary schools. Please see the interactive calendar. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate requests for tours or classroom visits as these present interruptions to the instructional process that we prefere to avoid. Likewise, we choose not to host informational meetings about the Optional Zone because:
-The District does not wish to foster a situation which places our secondary settings in competition with each other for student enrollment and, in our experience, such programs do pit our schools against each other;
-The middle school and high school websites and this FAQ are informative and contain the information needed to make an optional zone decision;
-The wide variety of performance and information events at our secondary schools, including concerts, plays, musicals, PTA meetings, international nights, athletic contests, etc., are open to parents and students respectively and provide the opportunity to get know the culture of our schools first hand;
-Curricular, co-curricular, and athletic programs at our secondary schools do adapt and grow over time based on Department of Education requirements, and student interests and needs. As such, one should not assume a “status quo” with regard to course offerings, activities, clubs, and athletic teams.
Please also view our middle school social media posts for additional information.
You may access, print, and return a generic copy of the Optional Zone letter that was mailed home. Optional Zone Letter to Parents/Guardians of Eligible Students.
January 8, 2019
Important Information about the Optional Attendance Zone
The Board of Education of the Great Neck Public Schools is pleased to offer an “Optional Attendance Zone” choice to qualified students who will enter 6th grade in the fall of 2019. Ideally, 35-40 current 5th grade students living in the E.M. Baker and Saddle Rock attendance areas and who are zoned to attend South Middle School will elect to attend North Middle School instead. (Please click here to view a map of the optional attendance zone.) All students who take advantage of this option are eligible for transportation if they reside beyond North Middle School’s “walker” limits, and their younger siblings will be provided with the same “Optional Zone” choice when they reach 6th grade.
A copy of the District’s January calendar appears on the reverse side of this letter. You are welcome to attend middle and high school events as a means of learning more about each of our secondary schools prior to making your Optional Attendance Zone decision. For more information, please see the Optional Attendance Zone FAQ.
Should you elect to have your child attend North Middle School, please complete, sign, and return this form by Friday, February 1, 2019. Note that you must submit this form even if your child’s older sibling(s) already attend North High School or North Middle School. Written confirmation approving your request will be mailed on or about February 15, 2019. Please contact Dr. Stephen C. Lando at 516-441-4009 if you have any questions.
Very truly yours,
Dr. Teresa Prendergast
Superintendent of Schools
I request that my child attend North Middle School beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. I understand that any request to return to South Middle School must adhere to Board of Education Policy 5110, School Attendance Areas.
Student’s First and Last Name:
Current Elementary School:
Parent/Guardian Name (please print):
Return form to Dr. Stephen C. Lando, Phipps Administration Building, 345 Lakeville Road, Great Neck, NY 11020