School district meeting helps people keep up with changes
Changes are coming, and the Quincy School District wants parents and staff to be ready.
With that in mind, the QSD held a reconfiguration meeting Sept. 27, in which parents, teachers and staff members were invited to hear what will be different from next year on.
For starters, the district presented a set of proposed new geographic boundaries for its elementary school students that will determine which school students in grades K-5 will attend.
The new boundaries would ensure that each of the district’s four elementary schools in Quincy (Mon-ument, Mountain View, Pioneer and the newest one, Ancient Lakes) will have about the same number of students, Quincy public schools superintendent John Boyd said.
Alesha Porter said that when designing the boundaries, the district sought to find the safest possible routes for students.
“Student safety was our No. 1 priority,” said Porter, the principal at Pioneer Elementary. “We also kept in mind the areas in town that we know are growing, and we want to make sure we equitably balance the schools.”
George Elementary will cover the south end of the district, with its northernmost boundary set at Road 3 NW.
The north end of the district will be split by State Route 281 N. The west side of the split will have its southern boundary at Highway 28 and its eastern boundary at Third Avenue NE. The students living in this area will attend Mountain View Elementary, although for some Ancient Lakes would be closer. The reason for the switch, transportation manager Rob Henne explained, was safety.
Third Avenue NE will go straight into the new high school, which will open next year, Henne said, and the district did not want elementary school children having to cross a street full of teenage drivers.
The east side of the split will have its southern boundary begin at the intersection of Highway 281 and State Route 28, then follow State Route 28 until Adams Road. From there, it will head south to Road 3 NW and then head west until the district ends, just west of Road J. The students in that perimeter will attend Ancient Lakes.
Students living south of Road 3 NW, west of State Route 281, east of the Columbia River, and south of Highway 28 will attend Monument Elementary.
And students living inside the perimeter made of Highway 28 on the north, Adams Road on the east, Road 3 NW on the south and State Route 281 on the west will attend Pioneer Elementary.
With these boundaries, Ancient Lakes would house about 314 students, Monument would have about 353, Pioneer would have about 316 and Mountain View would have about 344. George Elementary would have about 218.
All the elementary schools will offer classes to grades K-5, Boyd added. The district used to offer, assistant superintendent Nik Bergman said, K-1 in one elementary building, 2-3 in another and 4-6 in an-other.
Research indicated that so many changes have a negative impact on the children, Bergman said. This led to the current system, where a couple of elementary schools offer grades K-3, Monument offers 4-6 and the junior high offers 7-8.
Starting next year, students will have the chance to attend grades K-5 in the same school each year, grades 6-8 in the same school each year (a middle school instead of a junior high), and grades 9-12 in the same school each year, either the high school or the school formerly known as High Tech High, now the Quincy Innovation Academy. Two transitions instead of three or more.
Amy Torrens-Harry, the director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for the QSD said that creating successful transitions for students is one of the goals of the reconfiguration effort, which includes adding a fifth elementary school in the district, Ancient Lakes, in the existing junior high building.
Ancient Lakes Elementary will get a new playground structure next summer, following the installation of similar toys at Monument Elementary and George Elementary, the district’s head of maintenance and facilities Tom Harris said.
Harris noted that things like bathroom fixtures, furniture and salad bars had to be checked and, if needed, changed at some of the schools to make sure that they are the appropriate size for the students those schools will welcome next year. For example, Monument Elementary will undergo a few changes, like new lockers, more bulletin boards, and coat hooks on the classrooms.
Lastly, all schools will gradually switch to a single point of entry, Harris said, adding that the district is examining the idea of giving students ID cards, as well. George Elementary has already switched to a single point of entry.
The Quincy School District will hold another forum in February, Bergman said, where the district will formally unveil the details of the reconfiguration, Bergman said.
By Sebastian Moraga, email@example.com