Multiple schools, same roof
Good article in The New York Times yesterday about a topic familiar to many in Baltimore: the challenges associated with locating multiple small schools in the same building. While the suburbs by and large aren't experiencing this trend, it's becoming more and more common in urban districts around the nation. According to the article, 42 percent of New York City schools now cohabit with at least one other school, with as many as five to a building. In Baltimore, I know of as many as four under one roof (the old Roland Patterson now houses KIPP, MATHS, Civitas and the high school portion of ConneXions).
These configurations make sense for the many small schools opening without the funds for their own buildings, and they are an efficient use of resources. They also pose a variety of logistical problems, from who gets to have lunch at what time (the article mentions one where lunch periods start at 9:42 a.m.) to disagreements over when to have a fire drill and whether to form a sports team. In New York, there have been territorial spats among principals over such petty things as who controls keys to the building's closets. While the article says some of the thorniest issues involve placing multiple age groups under the same roof, I'd venture to say that in Baltimore at least, the toughest scenarios are those where one school in a building has a positive culture and another does not.