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Board approves elementary grade reorganization

Citing the need to better prepare students for their futures, the Central Valley board of education unanimously approved a plan at its regular meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 16 to reorganize Fisher and Barringer Road Elementary Schools, creating one grades PreK-1 school and one grades 2-4 school. The change will take effect beginning September 2016.

“The board has wrestled with this concept for two years—weighing the academic and developmental opportunities of reorganizing against the uncertainty of change. In the end, they looked at the data and decided to make the move to give our Thunder the best opportunity for success,” said Superintendent Rich Hughes.

The data, Dr. Hughes said, is revealing. Despite attempts to provide the same content and teaching philosophy at both schools, there remain differences. Certain grades at Barringer Road outperform their counterparts at Fisher; in other grades, Fisher students outperform those at Barringer Road. Combining all of a grade in one building ensures the students receive the same instruction in the same environment.

He also noted that under the capital project, the buildings could be better configured to meet the specific needs of younger versus older children.

He also said the board weighed questions of transportation times and cost, families attending different schools, etc.

“Throughout this discussion, I heard concerns about adding a third building transition. Those concerns overlooked the even bigger transition that occurs now when Fisher and Barringer Road fourth graders move to Jarvis. They not only enter a new middle school culture, but they must combine two separate groups of students into a single fifth grade. One change is difficult enough. Under the new system, all of the students in a grade travel through their school years together,” Dr. Hughes said.

For a closer look at the data and a glimpse of what the reorganization will look like, please watch the following video: