Charlestown Elementary Schools Reconfiguration – Frequently Asked Questions

Why is GCCS proposing reconfiguration of Charlestown elementary schools?

Why is GCCS proposing reconfiguration of Charlestown elementary schools?

Greater Clark County Schools has a vision of building one elementary program in Charlestown to provide equitable opportunities for all students and has been researching and discussing the primary/intermediate concept for a few years. With the current growth in Charlestown, specifically the Jonathan Jennings Elementary area, this proposal would eliminate school boundaries and prevent redistricting. The reconfiguration would essentially create one elementary track in the two Charlestown elementary schools with Pleasant Ridge Elementary (primary) serving the pre-k through second grade student population and Jonathan Jennings Elementary (intermediate) serving the third through fifth grade student population.

What are the benefits of this proposed reconfiguration?

What are the benefits of this proposed reconfiguration?

The primary academic benefit for re-configuration is to have every Charlestown elementary teacher working in a grade level in the same building. This level of collaboration promotes a more consistent curriculum, instruction, and assessment system that will improve instructional practice and student achievement. Another benefit of this primary/intermediate grade configuration is that educational programming may be better targeted to meet the specific needs of students academically, socially, emotionally, and physically. The re-configuration will also eliminate the problem of students who change elementary schools in Charlestown during the school year due to family circumstances. Unfortunately, these transitions occur too frequently and only makes a student’s life more challenging. Extra-curricular programming will also be more equitable for all Charlestown elementary students. Lastly, the re-configuration effort will effectively address the need to fully unite Charlestown from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. In particular, some of the challenges of students transitioning from two different elementary schools into Charlestown Middle School will be alleviated.

How much will the reconfiguration cost the district?

How much will the reconfiguration cost the district?

The district will transition furniture from Jonathan Jennings Elementary to Pleasant Ridge Elementary that is more appropriate for the primary grade levels. The district will assess the needs of both buildings and will address if needed. The facilities will not be remodeled at this time. The district will continue to review demographic projections and renovate the current buildings or possibly construct new buildings to accommodate the expected growth in Charlestown.

How many teachers will be staffed at each building?

How many teachers will be staffed at each building?

The primary and intermediate buildings will be staffed according to our current teacher to student ratio of 25:1. Teacher choice of building or grade level will be honored to the greatest extent possible.

How will extra-curricular activities be handled?

How will extra-curricular activities be handled?

Athletic teams such as basketball, cross country and track will have two teams to accommodate the size of the student population eligible for sports. Opportunities will not be limited due to the proposed reconfiguration. Our proposal is there will be a blue and a black team. The two teams will be created equally with the coaches drawing for the team they will coach. One team will participate in the American League and the other in the National League. The number of cheerleaders will be proportionate to the size of the student population.

What are the next steps?

What are the next steps?

The Board of School trustees is slated to vote on this proposal on Tuesday, December 20th. If approved, communication will be sent to parents by the district, as well as included in school newsletters. Multiple informational and transitional events will be held for parents and students at both buildings leading up to the 2017-18 school year.

How will special events, such as parties, graduations, field days, etc be handled to accommodate families with children at both schools?

How will special events, such as parties, graduations, field days, etc be handled to accommodate families with children at both schools?

All special events will be organized by the building principals working together to best accommodate families. Building calendars will be coordinated to allow parents to volunteer and support both buildings without conflicts.

Will Communities in Schools still offer before and after school care at both locations? Or will they have a central location?

Will Communities in Schools still offer before and after school care at both locations? Or will they have a central location?

Communities in Schools will still be located in both buildings.

Transportation logistics are a major concern for some. Can kids be bussed to another school to help with drop off and pick up?

Transportation logistics are a major concern for some. Can kids be bussed to another school to help with drop off and pick up?

The transportation department is working on a detailed plan to stagger arrival and dismissal procedures to simplify schedules for parents with students in multiple schools.

Pick up with children in every building would be a lot of time in lines.

Pick up with children in every building would be a lot of time in lines.

Pick-up and drop-off will be strategically arranged to allow for parents to get to multiple buildings to pick-up/drop-off their children in a timely fashion.

Extra-curricular activities (not sports) will have major adjustments with grade levels. How will these activities be impacted?

Extra-curricular activities (not sports) will have major adjustments with grade levels. How will these activities be impacted?

All Charlestown students will be afforded equal opportunities in school activities.

How will they stagger lunch and recess for six classes per grade level?

How will they stagger lunch and recess for six classes per grade level?

Building committees and the building principal will develop master schedules with details about lunch, recess and special area.

Is adding another transition just adding an unnecessary stressor?

Is adding another transition just adding an unnecessary stressor?

We absolutely have to be sensitive to this transition. There will definitely be transition plans put in place. Yes, students will enter a different building going into 3rd grade, but the student body will remain the same which will alleviate much of the stress typically induced from transitions.

Will students have more opportunities to actually interact more with the other students in the grade?

Will students have more opportunities to actually interact more with the other students in the grade?

Recess time will rotate so students have opportunities to interact with other students in the grade level. Students will also have opportunities during PRIDE Rewards.

Will you continue to honor parent requests for specific teachers?

Will you continue to honor parent requests for specific teachers?

Parent requests will only be honored in writing for educational reasons.

What will happen with self-contained and severe classrooms?

What will happen with self-contained and severe classrooms?

Both buildings will have a severe classroom and programs to support student needs.

Will there be fewer opportunities for older siblings to interact with younger siblings?

Will there be fewer opportunities for older siblings to interact with younger siblings?

The two schools can organize rewards and incentives for interactions to occur.

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