Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meeting time and location: INPUT NEEDED

Please comment below and let us know when a good time to meet would be.

  • Do weekends work better than a week night for you?   
  • Would it be easier to meet if you knew there would be childcare available?  
  • Would you be more comfortable meeting at a church, fellowship hall or other neutral location? 

Please leave us some feedback so we can better meet your needs and reach everyone that wants to be involved!

Thank you!  :)


Don't forget there is a parent meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at the Middle School.  This is a meeting called and organized BY PARENTS.  Please come and bring your questions, concerns and comments.  It is time to take action.  Be a part of the solution and make your voice known!  This will affect the future of your children's educational experience!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

iPetition has been created to voice concerns over proposed changes

Click HERE to sign a petition to let the Board of Education know your feelings in regards to the proposed changes outlined at the meeting on January 14th.

Mark your calendars.....

Work SessionsBusiness Sessions
February 11, 2013February 25, 2013
March 11, 2013March 25, 2013
April 8, 2013April 22, 2013
May 6, 2013May 20, 2013
June 10, 2013June 24, 2013
July 22, 2013 (Combined Work/Business Session)
August 12, 2013August 26, 2013
September 23, 2013 (Combined Work/Business Session)
October 14, 2013October 28, 2013
November 11, 2013November 25, 2013
December 9, 2013 (Combined Work/Business Session)
January 13, 2014 (Annual Organizational Meeting and Combined Work Session)
January 27, 2014 (Business Session)



The next meeting for interested parents will be Tuesday, January 29th at 7 p.m. in the Middle School cafeteria.  Please share this and bring a friend!  See  you there!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday, January 6, 2013

School Board meeting schedule

Here is the link to the Board of Education page on the Marshall Public School's website:


Next meeting is Monday January 14th at 7 p.m.

Articles in regards to transition and case studies on grade level configurations

  • How do grade configurations affect transitions?
    The division of elementary schools into configurations that include fewer grades requires that students make several transitions from one school to another. Researchers note that transitions can be stressful for students:
    Alspaugh (1999) found a significant achievement loss during each transition year. He also found that some students regain what is lost in the following year, but it would seem that students who make fewer transitions need fewer years to make up for achievement losses caused by transitions.
    Another study found that each time students switched schools, their feelings of anonymity increased. Researchers who found that sixth-grade students in both elementary and combination K-12 schools outperformed students in middle schools or junior high schools considered the number of transitions a significant factor. This study considered 8 schools with 7 different grade spans with student populations of 82 to 1,200. The schools were located in both urban and rural settings in 5 northwest states. The number of grades in the schools ranged from 1 to 11 (Paglin & Fager, 1997).
    Another research study found that girls in early adolescence suffered from a drop in self-esteem, extracurricular participation, and leadership behaviors when they made the transition into middle school or junior high, but not if they remained in an elementary school setting. This study found that the effects of this transition lingered throughout the school years. For boys, the study found similar negative effects in extracurricular participation and grades, but not in self-esteem, when they made the transition into middle school or junior high. The authors concluded that the relatively protected elementary school setting made the entry into adolescence less stressful for both boys and girls. The students who had not had the stress of the earlier transition seemed to cope better with the transition into high school than did other students (Simmons & Blyth, 1987).
    Franklin and Glascock (1996) found that sixth-grade boys experienced more suspensions in middle schools or junior high schools than in elementary schools, possibly related to the effects of the transition, the school organization, or school size. This study was based on information gathered from all Louisiana public schools during the 1992-1993 school year.
  • Alspaugh, John W. (1999). The interaction effect of transition grade to high school with gender and grade level upon dropout rates. Montreal: American Educational Research Association. (ERIC Document No.ED431066)
    Bickel, Robert; Howley, Craig; Williams, Tony; & Glascock, Catherine. (2000, November). Will the real "Texas miracle in education" please stand up? Grade span configuration, achievement, and expenditure per pupil. Randolph, VT: Rural School and Community Trust. (ERIC Document No. ED447995)
    Franklin, Bobby J., & Glascock, Catherine H. (1996, October). The relationship between grade configuration and student performance in rural schools. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Rural Education Association, San Antonio, TX. (ERIC Document No. ED403083)
    Hopkins, Gary. (1997, September . Grade configuration: Who goes where? Education World [Online]. Available:http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin017.shtml
    Howley, Craig. (2002, March). Grade-span configurations. American Association of School Administrators [Online].Available:http://www.aasa.org/publications/saissuedetail.cfm?ItemNumber=1790&snItemNumber=950&tnItemNumber=951.
    Lounsbury, John H. (1996). Key characteristics of middle level schools [Online]. ERIC Digest. Champaign, IL.
    ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education. (ERIC Document No. ED401050). Available:http://ecap.crc.illinois.edu/eecearchive/digests/1996/louns96.html.
    National Center for Education Statistics. (2002). Directory of public elementary and secondary education agencies, 2000-2001 [Online]. Available:http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2003/2003310.pdf.
    Paglin, Catherine, & Fager, Jennifer. (1997, July). Grade configuration: Who goes where [Online]. Available:http://www.nwrel.org/request/july97/index.html.
    Editor's Note: this url is no longer active.
    Reents, Jennifer Newton. (2002, March). Isolating 9th graders. School Administrator[Online]. Available:http://www.aasa.org/publications/saarticledetail.cfm?ItemNumber=2668
    Editor's Note: this url is no longer active.
    Simmons, Roberta G., & Blyth, Dale A. (1987). Moving into adolescence: The impact of pubertal change and school context. Hawthorne, NY: de Gruyter.
    Web Resources
    Should Sixth Grade Be in Elementary or Middle School? An Analysis of Grade Configuration and Student Behavior (2007)
    The Academic Effectiveness of Small-Scale Schooling (An Update)

Current building configurations

Current Building Structure
16 classrooms total
13 General Ed Classrooms
(Resource Room, Music or Art would have to be displaced in order to have enough classrooms to house 14 classes)
(7/grade level x 2 grade levels=14)
Would also need to add a CI classroom








1-Resource Room

1-Art Room

1-Music Room/Nurses Office

13 classrooms total
12 General Ed Classrooms (1 currently housed in the purposed music room)
Music and Art as well as the technology computer lab would have to be displaced in order to have enough classrooms to house 14 classes
(7/grade x 2 grade levels=14)
Would also need to add a CI classroom








1-Music/Art Room (Music was already displaced from it's bond money space due to 5th grade)

1-Resource Room (Housed at the Shamrock Preschool side due to displacement from 5th grade)
21 classrooms total
18 General Ed Classrooms, CI classroom is smaller than a purposed classroom, 4 Classrooms would sit empty

3-K (1 in the purposed resource room due to 5th grade)







1-Resource Room

1-Music Room

1-Art Room (resource room shares this space when art is not there due to 5th grade)

This clearly indicates that 2 of our schools cannot possibly house the number of students we currently have enrolled, while the third wouldn't be utilizing all of the space that it was intended to use.

List of "cons" compiled by parents at December 18th meeting

This is a list of the potential negative impacts that parents compiled during the December 18th meeting:

  • Larger class sizes
  • No exposure to older students thus eliminating the role model/mentoring skill set that is currently in existence.
  • Fewer resources (for example: the library would only contain books up to a certain level.  How do we accommodate 2nd graders that are reading at a 5th grade level?)
  • There is a level of security staying in the same building for 5 years.  The front office staff knows all the families and the children.  Transitioning to a new building every other year would take some of this security away.
  • Transitioning to a new building every other year could be very disruptive to some children.  Some 3rd grade students struggled with the transition to different classrooms for core subjects within the same building.
  • Transportation concerns for parents with children in all three buildings.
  • Transportation concerns in regards to younger children on the bus without older siblings to watch over them.
  • Lose instruction time due to doctor, dentist, and the like, appointments when families are spread between buildings.
  • Loss of parent involvement and PCO's due to families trying to be involved at multiple buildings.
  • How do parents attend celebrations (i.e, Mother's Day, Christmas, Halloween, etc.) when families are split between buildings?
  • Research has shown that an increase in transitions correlates to an increase in high school drop out rates.
  • Enrollment declines due to large number of districts close by that do not split families between buildings at the elementary age.
  • Question the safety of a central bussing hub or zone.
  • Concern for time with children in transit-lose educational time.
  • "Guinea Pig" students in an unproven model
  • SPED staffing and SPED programming
  • Lack of continuity in relationships between staff and families
  • Staffing for specials
  • Child anxiety
  • Detract from the neighborhood school-ownership and community
  • Will lose familiarity with K-5 teachers and across differing grade level collaboration
  • Students will get lost in the pack.
  • What are the chances the board will bump up class sizes and cut teachers anyway?
  • How would parent/teacher conferences work?
  • Behavior issues INCREASE with more of the same age peers
  • Lack of diversity (not a broad range of age levels)
  • Lose the potential of mentoring across grade levels in the same building between teachers.

List of "pros" compiled by parents at December 18th meeting

This is a list of the "pros" compiled by the parents that attended the December 18th meeting.

  • Other buildings may gain more resources for CI students
  • Teacher placement (more options for students)
  • Eliminate the division of district lines.  Students will establish more relationships before middle school.
  • Ability to categorize students into skill level-teach more to ability and beyond core standards and benchmarks.
  • Staff development and more common planning time than already provided.
  • Cost savings
  • Improve educational delivery

Questions generated at the December 18th parent meeting

Here are a list of questions generated by the parents that attended the December 18th parent initiated meeting at Marshall Middle School.

  • How will the school district accommodate the ebb and flow of enrollment?
  • Where does the money come from to increase the security in our schools?
  • Where other areas are being explored to save the $1 million the district needs to cut?
  • What is the cost savings of this new configuration?
  • How will this look for our special education students and classrooms?  Won't we need to add more special education rooms as we will need one per building?

Original email from Randy Davis

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.



This site has been created as a way to easily communicate and distribute information to all Marshall Public School elementary school families in regards to the proposed changes to the elementary school configuration.  This site is not "for" or "against" the proposed changes and is maintained as a clearinghouse for resources so parents can read as much, or as little, about the topic as they wish.

You can check this blog for school board meeting reminders, links to resources including articles, meeting minutes, agendas, etc.  We will also post meeting announcements for the parent group that held its first meeting in December to begin the open dialogue.

Please subscribe to this blog so you are alerted when new posts arrive.  This will be easier than maintaining an email chain and will allow others to join in!

Negative comments will not be tolerated on this blog and will be deleted immediately.  Please keep your comments civil, polite and on topic.

Thank you for taking an interest in your children's education!