A smooth transition

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:43 AM

“I can’t tell you how hard our administrators and teachers worked,” Scott Grimes, the district's assistant superintendent of human services, told the school board Monday night.

Earlier this year, the school board unanimously approved the change requiring some grades to shift to different buildings. The district’s elementary schools now house grades K-4; while all fifth- and sixth-graders attend White Pines Middle School, and seventh- and eighth-graders attend Lakeshore Middle School.

Grimes said the district has about 200 students more than they projected, although that number might trickle down as the school year progresses. He attributes the increase to the district’s grade reconfiguration, all-day kindergarten and Young Fives program.

Superintendent Keith Konarska said parents have been positive about the changes.

“I don’t believe there’s any other stamp of approval,” he said.

Grimes said they began to plan for the changes by visiting schools and looking at various configurations. At that point, he said they didn’t know what they were getting themselves into, but the staff has done a good job.

White Pines Middle School Principal Michael Shelton said his school originally held between 820 and 830 students, and it now has about 920 students — all of whom are new to the building.

Lakeshore Middle School Principal Kevin Polston said his school now has about 930 students, and about 575 of them are new to the building.

Polston said they had student and teacher transition teams to help make a smooth switch, and the Lakeshore teachers are enjoying being under the same roof.

Both principals said their staffs gave positive feedback about the first week into the reconfiguration, with only minor challenges to overcome. Some of those challenges include typical new school year problems involving bus schedules cutting it close to the start of class time.

Konarska acknowledge that there are kinks that need to be worked out, but said the reconfiguration has been an overwhelming success. He said everyone working hard has been an inspiration to watch.

“Their summer was not a restful one," he said of district staff. "It was intense."

School board President Chris Houghtaling commended the district staff for their work.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am,” he said.

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