Major changes proposed in school district

Posted 12/17/08

Tom Munds Superintendent Sean McDaniel gave Englewood School Board members a lot to think about as he presented a proposal to reinvent the district. …

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Major changes proposed in school district


Tom Munds

Superintendent Sean McDaniel gave Englewood School Board members a lot to think about as he presented a proposal to reinvent the district.

The major elements of the proposal, which require school board approval and would be implemented at the start of the 2009-10 school year, include:

Educating all elementary school students in four buildings, Bishop, Clayton, Cherrelyn and Charles Hay.

Moving early childhood education from the Lowell Building to Maddox Elementary School

Creating a kindergarten through eighth-grade international baccalaureate program at Hay Elementary School.

Closing or leasing out the Lowell Building

Creating an Englewood Freshman Academy for incoming ninth-graders

Allowing eighth-graders the choice of the freshman academy or attending Colorado’s Finest Alternative High School.

McDaniel presented the proposal at the Dec. 16 school board meeting as information for the school board to review and evaluate. Then, in January, the plan is to provide additional detailed information on the proposal to the board, to have two or more public forums about the issue to gather additional information and to make a decision about the plan before the end of January.

In introducing the proposal, he said it took 12 to 14 weeks of hard, dedicated effort from a host of people to develop the plan, made necessary because no one wants to maintain the status quo — the results are not satisfactory.

“We know we can’t keep doing what we are doing. If we do, we’ll get the same results we are getting now,” the superintendent said. “So, we need to look fort a different, better way of doing things with the ultimate goal of improving the quality education we provide for all our students.”

He first addressed the proposal to teach kindergarten through fifth-graders in four elementary school building so the early childhood education program can be moved from the Lowell Annex bulding to the Maddox Elementary School.

McDaniel said the Lowell Building is old. It very costly and difficult to heat and cool and the building is in need of about $2 million in upgrades and repairs. So, moving ECE would provide the program a better facility and reduce district utility costs.

“The reason Maddox is suggested is because of the building’s central location,” he said. “That would leave us with four elementary schools, one in each quadrant of the city to continue the tradition of neighborhood schools.”

Heather Hunt, school board president, asked it moving ECE to Maddox would provide the room to expand the program and eliminate the waiting list.

Gail Neubert, director so student services, said there would be more room at Maddox. She said currently there are about 200 children in ECE with a waiting list of 25 to 40 out-of-district families. That could be eliminated because there are 20 classrooms at Maddox and the student capacity is 356.

Board Member Shelly Thompson asked how the proposal to having elementary education in four buildings would improve student achievement.

“We feel this will provide the opportunity to get larger groups of grade-level teachers together so they can work together on proven instructional models and curriculum content,” McDaniel answered. “Those measures should help develop stronger, consistent academic programs that would have a positive impact on student achievement.”

He said work continues on details of the proposal, including exact personnel decisions and just how all the changes would take place.

He said more details would be made available as decisions are made. He also said he wanted to work with the school board members to set up sites, times and dates for the public forums to keep the people informed about the proposal.

“I stress this is an important matter when we consider we have an aging building costing us a lot of money in utility costs and five elementary schools with each at about 58 percent of student capacity. So, I feel we have to get rolling on this,” the superintendent said. “I also want to point out it is not a quick fix but a long-term program. But it also is flexible enough that, if district circumstances such as enrollment increases. I feel it is a thoughtful proposal and I hope we can refine it and put it into action soon.”

Plan proposes using four buildings as elementary schools.

Maddox would house early childhood education program

Public forums planned in January on proposal.


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