Saturday, March 2, 2013

7th and 8th grades to the High School?

The most senior Board of Education member of Potsdam Central was quoted recently as saying that moving the 8th grade to the high school was a short term scenario, a one year proposition.  Based on numbers produced for grades 7-12 class sizes for the next five years, this is not true.  In fact, it is not until 2017-18 that the number of students in those grades is greater than they are this year.  And then, the number of students projected, 569, is far fewer than what the high school building was designed to hold (700-800).  See the projections here: 2012-2018 PCS Grades 7-12 Projections  After the site opens, click on 7-12 Projected Enrollment or review any of the other documents listed.

Another interesting document put together by High School Principal Chambers demonstrates that there is plenty of room for the 7th and 8th grades in the high school.  This document is called "High School Room Usage" at the same link.  According to this document, there are six vacant classrooms in the high school. Mrs. Chambers qualified discussion of this document by saying that it was put together quickly and may not reflect the best configuration of teachers.  Nevertheless, it is clear that there is space for two additional grades at the high school.

Clearly, this information refutes the perception that moving one or more grades to the high school is a short term scenario.  In fact, it may make the most sense of all of the configurations being recommended.  Class sizes are higher at the elementary school and all agree that smaller classes are ideal in the grades where students need to learn important skills to be successful in higher grades.  A.A. Kingston Middle School was built in the 1970's when our community's school age population was booming.  That is no longer the situation and the smart thing to do is to downsize. 

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