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Redistricting Information

May 27, 2016

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As we approach the end of this school year, we want to communicate additional information regarding the upcoming grade-level reconfiguration changes slated for the 2016-17 school-year. The initiative to reconfigure our four elementary buildings has been long overdue and we are excited that all-day kindergarten and grade-level unification will finally come to fruition for our families at Howland Schools. We are even more excited that this was accomplished with no additional tax revenue from our community.

As shared on our Webpage, at community forums and media releases, there is strong rationale for educating students in the same grade levels under the same roof. An environment where all children within the community are brought together early on in their schooling fosters educational, social, and collaborative value for all of our students, rather than meeting for the first time in middle school. These are important and substantive changes occurring in Howland Schools and there is much research and planning that has gone into the entire process since being introduced to the public back in November 2015. The Board, school leaders, staff, students, Superintendent Council, and you have all assisted in developing initiatives and ideas that will help make the transition as smooth as possible for our students and families. We encourage you to stay informed by accessing our Webpage over the summer months for important updates as available. There you will find transportation, building, and logistical information as well as Q & A’s. www.howlandschools.com

 

We have planned the following to assist you and your child with the transition into the 2016-17 school year:

 

May 23 – May 27 “Pride Walk” This week your child has been participating in our “Pride Walk” where students transitioning to a new building next year had the opportunity to tour the building and visit classrooms. Principals and teachers have been working hard conducting activities and plans for the end of the year and for a smooth transition into next year.

August 16 & 17 “Tiger Trek” – Students and one parent/guardian will have the opportunity to board your child’s bus and be transported to and from the school your child will be attending and become familiar with the new bus route. During your (approx.) one-hour stay, you will have the opportunity to meet the principal, tour the building and grounds, and visit classrooms. Inter-act Club students and other volunteers will be available to assist you and your child with this transition activity. (Times and details will be posted on Webpage)

August 24 & 25, 30 & 31 “Meet the Teacher” – An opportunity before school commences for you and your child to become acclimated with her/his new teachers, principal, and building.

August 24 August 25 August 30

3:00 p.m. - 2nd grade 3:00 p.m. - 5th grade 6:00 p.m. – High School

4:00 p.m. - 3rd grade 4:00 p.m. - Kindergarten August 31

5:00 p.m. - 4th grade 5:00 p.m. - 1st grade 6:00 p.m. – Middle School

Educationally,

Kevin Spicher, Superintendent of Schools

 
 

May 1, 2016

Response to public relations information request from Superintendent Advisory Council

 

Grade level alignment rationale and benefits to students in the Howland Schools:

 

  • Aligned and cohesive instruction/assessment pedagogy and practices
  •  Equitable curriculum for all students to access
  • Ability to now implement newly Board adopted “Response to Intervention” (RTI) paradigm that provides necessary assistants for students at all learning levels
  •  Equitable experiences for students to all activities, events, facilities, and state/local funding
  •  Shared staff resources and collaborative focus for Stronger focus on 21st Century Skills
  • Ability to offer more effective academic, gifted, spec. ed, and enrichment programming
  • Sustained ability for better student instruction, ideas, support, and student help
  •  More articulate and accurate data-analysis of student learning and assessment
  • Collaborative staff professional development at each grade level resulting in far more articulate pedagogical practices.
  • Greater efficiency and equitability of instructional and support resources allocated for kids to access at varying levels
  • Singular transition plans from one building to the next for each student
  • Students learn and socialize early in their educational career with the diversity of all peers, not limited to those in segmented parts of the township
  • Foster better bonds for students/staff by working collaboratively for students from all segments of the community, and promote stronger partnerships with parents/guardians

 

What Does the Research Say?

Studies suggest that primary school configurations make an impact on student learning from the interaction of specific characteristics. Middle schools typically are large catchment areas encompassing multiple elementary schools. This structure means students enter middle school alongside a whole new group of peers who may have had widely different educational and social experiences, even in the same school district - especially if students attend different buildings under the same grade level. “This type of mainstreaming has been noted to be problematic for students of middle school age during a period of childhood marked by major changes in attitudes and motivation, low self-esteem, poor ability to judge risks and consequences, decreased respect for authority, and other behaviors that may make students more difficult to educate”. (Midgley, and Adler 1984; Eccles, Wigfield, Midgley, Reuman, MacIver, and Feldlaufer 1983). These students undergo this difficult transition at a time when they may need increased attention to social and academic needs. This in turn puts teachers and administrators in difficult positions, dealing with diverse numbers of students with whose backgrounds and learning styles have come to them at varying levels of pedagogy where students are at a disadvantage because of the varying levels of achievement and growth when entering the middle school.

One of the core decisions made at the level of the school district is how to organize students into schools. While the vast majority of American public school students in Grades 9 through 12 attend a traditional high school, a wide variety of configurations are used to divide students in the primary grades. Recent evidence suggests that districts should address problems in middle schools (Grades 6 to 8), especially in the first year of entry, by creating configurations where students in the same grades are in the same buildings - so as to be educated with similar pedagogy and experiences that will encompass all students - resulting in a successful academic and social transition into middle school and beyond.

No study is definitive, but the findings suggest that grade configuration is an important area for reform. Many studies have found that the transition to middle school is associated with a loss of academic achievement, elevated suspension rates, and reduced self-esteem (Byrnes and Ruby 2007; Cook, MacCoun, Muschkin, and Vigdor 2008; Weiss and Kipnes 2006). Reconfiguration reform that will assist our students in transitioning to each building and into the middle school alongside their peers from all segments of the community and under the same educational paradigm is a must.

FAQ
 

In what building will my child attend all-day kindergarten?

Students will be assigned for all day kindergarten according to their current residence. We will continue to use East Market Street as the dividing line for Kindergarten enrollment only. Grades 1-5 will be combined into prospectively assigned buildings, regardless of residence.

My family will have students in several buildings. Will the buildings continue to have the same start times?

The buildings will have staggered start times.

What is the benefit of the reconfiguration?

The number 1 benefit is that the students will be housed together beginning at grade 1. By having all of the students in the same grade level in the same building, the teachers will be able to plan and collaborate curriculum and assessments together. Every student in the district will be able to access the same resources and programming under the same leadership and instruction. We can become more articulate to student needs and create initiatives that promote success for all students in an equitable manner. We will grow in resources and rigor, fostering the very best for our students from the very beginning of their educational career.

What is the benefit of All-Day Kindergarten?

Studies show that the earlier learning occurs, the better a child's outcome will be for learning down the road. Kindergarten is a critical level for learning and offering more during this critical time is essential.

Will half-day Kindergarten still be an option in Howland?

No - we are transitioning to a full day program only

Are eliminating HS bus routes a consideration?

We are not at a point financially where we need to completely cut the busing from the HS. It would always be a consideration if necessitated.

Highly concerned about placing 7th grade daughter on the bus with high school students?

We have provisions to maintain safety on the buses. This is a very common practice. When the high school and middle school routes are combined we will have sections on the bus so that the same age students are sitting together.

What are the estimated times for the MS and HS afternoon changes?

Dismissal times will be similar to the current times.

Are you going to eliminate days from the school calendar?

At this time the school, calendar will be staying the same even though we will be transitioning from days to hours.

Suggestion to hold Open Houses before the school year to ease transitions from school to school.

We will be holding the open houses before school starts.

Open enrolled student attending day care, how will the busing changes impact day care routes?

Since the student will be grouped by their grade level and not by where they live, day care usage will actually be easier than in the past.

Will the pick-up times at the student’s individual houses change?

Bus route times will be posted on the webpage around the middle of August.

Is the district leaning toward a particular model?

After listening to the feedback from our surveys, the district has heard that the majority of the parents like the model where the buses drop off at two schools instead of being shuttled from the high school.

Where will parents get all the pick-up times for the different day cares?

Bus route times will be posted on the webpage around the middle of August.

Suggestion from parent that younger students should be assigned seats in the front of the bus and older students assigned seats in the back.

When the high school and middle school routes are combined we will have sections on the bus so that the same age students are sitting together.

What curriculum changes will occur in going from half day to full day Kindergarten?

The students will be receiving all of the Kindergarten standards with much more depth. The teachers will be able to spend more time on all subject matter.

The rumor has always been that we can’t do 2 hour delays because of dual contracts. Is this true? Are there already 2 hour delay schedules in the buildings?

We would only look at utilizing a two hour delay if we are out of snow days and the weather is such that it would be safe to bring the students into school two hours late.

My child attends on open enrollment and goes to daycare. How will this be affected by the reconfiguration?

Open enrollment students only get to ride a school bus if there are open seats available on the route that they are scheduled to ride on. This decision is usually made around the second week of school.

Are you leaning toward a specific transportation plan at this point?

After listening to the feedback from our surveys, the district has heard that the majority of the parents like the model where the buses drop off at two schools instead of being shuttled from the high school.

What will the pickup times be at the day cares?

Bus route times will be posted on the webpage around the middle of August.

Iyou combine the MS/HS students on the bus, can the MS students set up front and the HS students sit in the back?

When the high school and middle school routes are combined we will have sections on the bus so that the same age students are sitting together.

What will be the length of time between dismissals at Glen and Mines?

Approximately 10 minutes.

Will there be additional guidance counselor services provided at Mines Elementary because there will be more students?

There will be more services provided at Mines Elementary in the counseling department.

Space will be provided for the guidance counselor.

Will there be more space for the clinic at Mines?

The clinic at one time was used to service approximately 600 students therefore the clinic has adequate space to handle 425 students.

How will music and art share a space?

The schedule will be created so that the specials will not be conducting classes at the same time. For efficient classroom use it is common to have a classroom used for two different courses.

 

 

HLS Community Forum

Reconfiguration Infomation

Reconfigure Response

Parent Letter

Superintendent's Advisory Council Letter

 

Howland Local Schools
8200 South St. SE
Warren, OH 44484
Phone: (330) 856-8200
Fax: (330) 856-8214