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Rumble of Thunder—a busy summer getting ready for fall

 Photo of Dr. HughesAugust 29, 2016

I hope everyone has had an enjoyable summer. While the weather has been hot recently, I’m sure many of us would rather have the sun and heat over cold and snow. Often the perception is that summer is a quiet time at our schools.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.

This summer we have been busy with a major investment into professional development for our teachers. We have had entire grade levels throughout both elementary schools working on building math and ELA curriculum. Part of this work includes weeding through Envisions (math) and Wonders (reading) so the focus can be on the skills our students must master to be successful versus just getting through all the material. Our Professional Development (PD) Committee is focusing on three main goals for the 16-17 school year aligned to the strategic plan.  The goals aren’t new but reformatted to provide a solid foundation that will continue the work Central Valley has already started to improve learning. The PD Committee is finalizing the plan this month and will present it to everyone on the first day of school for staff. A number of our educators attended Data Boot Camp hosted by the Madison-Oneida Regional Information Center to learn how data can be used to improve instruction and student learning. This month, staff interested in Google and BUZZ training have had multiple learning opportunities. Suffice it to say summer has been busy.

The other area where quite a bit of work is occurring is the movement of classrooms as part of the elementary realignment.  The board voted at 4-2 to continue with the realignment at the July Board meeting. After hearing concerns about where certain grade levels would be housed during the capital project, I looked into how we might be able to do it differently. Dependent on the State Education Department review process, the capital project is slated to being in April 2017 at Barringer Road, Fisher, and CVA.  Classroom will be added at the two elementary schools partly to house Special Education classrooms that will be operated by BOCES. As CV is 25% of the entire BOCES population, many of the students in those rooms will also be from CV instead of being housed elsewhere. Project work is not anticipated to being at Jarvis MS until the summer of 2018. To cut the project time at Jarvis from 3 years to 2 years, Jarvis will be emptied with students going to the other buildings. Grades PreK-2 would be housed at Fisher, grades 3-6 at Barringer while 7-12 would be at CVA. As the additional classrooms will not house BOCES students until after the completion of the project, there is room to house all our students in those buildings. It will be a tight fit in each building during the two years Jarvis is closed. The extra space at the elementary schools that each building has now for computer space, AIS and such will be used to house the sections of each classroom. If enrollment trends continue to grow at the youngest grade levels, there might also be a need to momentarily increase class sizes to make sure there are enough rooms. At CVA, not every teacher will have their own classrooms as 7-12 fits into the building. Grades 7 and 8 will have their own section of the building as much as possible. As each High School teacher teaches up to six courses out of a 9-period day, many teachers will be sharing classrooms over the two years. During the two years Jarvis is closed, work will be happening at CVA as well so swing space for the classrooms effected will also be necessary.

In the chart below, each class is listed along with the year and where the grade will be for every year of the capital project. Due to timing of the project, the Class of 2025 was initially planned to move multiple times. This would have caused them to be at Barringer for 4th grade, Jarvis for 5th grade, back to Barringer for 6th grade, CVA for 7th grade, to Jarvis for its first year open in 8th grade and finally to CVA for the High School.

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After the addition of classrooms at each elementary school, each elementary building would have 36 classrooms starting in the 2017-18 school year. With this many rooms available, the Class of 2025 could stay at Barringer for grades 4th through 6th as shown in the chart below.

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As they enter the 2019-20 school year, they would move to CVA. As Jarvis opens for the 2020-21 school year, the decision could be made at that time to either send the now 8th graders to Jarvis for one year of keep them at CVA.  This is a decision we will make after gathering input from the parents and teachers that would be effected by the decision. By making this change, the Class of 2025 would not have to move nearly as often and could have only one move over the rest of their academic time at Central Valley.

As with any decision, some are sure to be inconvenienced while others benefit. We want to do whatever we can to keep any inconveniences to a minimum.  Without input from those affected, the new plan would not have been possible.  To those that offered input, thank you for your time and dedication to our Thunder. As always, if you have an idea, question or concern, please email me at rhughes@cvalleycsd.org or call the district office at 894-9934. I look forward to those conversations and the eminent return of our staff and especially students.  It’s going to be a tremendous year!