Good morning, all. Over the past two years we have bantered about in informal and formal conversations the idea of restructuring our elementary schools. We have done some preliminary research into the “reconfiguration” of grade levels, and it is time to move this conversation forward and public.
We will be exploring the feasibility of restructuring our elementary schools from three buildings housing Kindergarten through 5th grade, to three “centers” that focus on developmental and age-level groupings. Initially, we are looking at a pre-K through 1st grade building, a 2nd and 3rd grade building, and a 4th and 5th grade building. This concept is driven first and foremost by the desire to continue our efforts at improving teaching and learning in our District. We have learned a lot from the synergy and progress all of you have made with the establishment of Professional Learning Communities, common planning at grade level, the alignment of our curriculum with Common Core Standards, and the implementation of our Learning Design Model. We also realize that operating three elementary buildings creates opportunities for variation of instructional practice and resources, despite our best efforts for continuity.
There will be a number of studies performed over the next month to bring a fundamental concept for the Board of Education to review in January, and then for our community to consider and provide input and feedback. Frank (Facilities Director) will be studying our three buildings relative to square footage of classrooms, numbers of classrooms relative to our enrollment, general attributes of the buildings relative to the proposed configurations, and the logistics of relocating a majority of our teachers. Mike (Transportation Director) will be studying the logistics of routes, pick up and drop off times, and the use of our bus fleet and city transportation. Don (Technology Director) will study our short and long term plans for the addition of technology devices and infrastructure to support such a restructuring. Scott (Director of Operations) will be studying our enrollment trends, budget implications of remaining in our current state versus restructuring, and the overall financial commitment such a move would require. The three Building Principals (Andrea, Linda, and Paul) will continue to research with me the potential impact such a restructuring would have on student achievement and instructional practice, and the timeline in which this could/should occur.
Nothing has been set in stone. The feasibility study will indicate whether we should move forward or not with a dialogue with our constituents. Please do not listen to rumor that the ideas are set and we are moving forward. It would not be respectful of our stakeholders (students, teachers, staff, Board, community) to act in isolation without input. There will be all sorts of ideas generated from this study. My hope is that we will be able to act with intention and fidelity to what is in the best interest of our students and this organization. Realizing even the consideration of making such a change of this magnitude can be rather daunting, we may discover along the way another step toward reaching our organizational objectives.
Please contact me with questions you may have. Talk with your peers and administration. Be open to possibilities, and direct with your concerns and ideas. Thank you for everything you do for Marshall.