Thirty-three people responded to last week’s Tele-Talk question: “Should Conway’s sixth-graders attend Kennett Middle School?” Twenty responses supported the move while seven were against it. The remaining six responses brought more questions to light and offered alternatives instead of providing support for the current option. School board members were scheduled Monday night to vote on the motion that would put the unused space to use by bringing roughly 100 sixth-graders to the empty space by the 2018-19 school year.
Yes (sixth-graders should attend Kennett Middle School), and it’s time for Bartlett, Jackson, Madison and Freedom to join the Conways in one school, and staff the classes with teachers from those schools. If they go to Kennett High School, they should go to Kennett Middle School.
Just because other schools do it is not a reason for Conway to. What is the educational impact for students? Children in this day and age are constantly pushed to grow up faster and faster. This is just one more way. It is important to let them be children as long as we can. The other impact is for fifth-graders who then take on the responsibilities and roles that sixth-graders do now in schools. Are all of those students prepared? And then there is the research on transitions for students. The later the transition between schools, the more positive the impact; that continues through high school and even later in life, whether it’s college or adulthood. There is so much more to this than just a money or logistical decision. Where is the data? Where is the input? Is this a forever decision? Can it be reversed? Please don’t make this decision without being able to answer these questions.
No. I’d like to see the elementary schools go to eighth grade. Get rid of middle school.
As someone who has taught fifth and sixth grade for 16 years, I have direct experience working with this age group. One important factor to consider is that most elementary classrooms are self-contained, meaning students stay in the same room with the same teachers for most of the day. This is great for younger students who need an environment that fosters close guidance and support as they grow up. In a middle-school format, students move between classrooms and have different teachers for each subject, which allows for more in-depth academic learning and encourages independence. In my opinion, sixth-graders have generally outgrown the elementary classroom structure and are developmentally ready for middle school instruction.
Absolutely! And I agree they should close an elementary school. How many towns have three elementary schools within 10 miles of each other? And with the Waldorf and Robert Frost schools and more kids being home-schooled, class sizes are dropping.
Yes! They can go to after-school programs to help with getting out earlier if that’s really an issue. I went to the middle school there and was the first class to attend all four years at the high school. I would love to see it being used for more kids. It has a lot of history through the halls, and it’s a shame to see it as empty as it is. I wish I had been able to spend more time there.
You know, on one hand, it’ll make class sizes smaller, open up more jobs for faculty and hopefully bring a better all-around experience for the students. But a lot of people have brought up some good points about being with older students and such. Tough call.
No, let them be kids for one more year.
Back in Massachusetts when I was in school, my middle school went from fifth to eighth grade; I couldn’t take the bus due to living within three miles. I would like to see Freedom move sixth grade to the middle school.
I think all sixth-graders, including Madison and Freedom students as well, should all be transitioning at that time.
Sixth grade was when I started middle school. I don’t see why not.
Keep in mind these sixth-grade students will be riding the buses with students much older than them, exposed to conversations they shouldn’t be hearing and catching a bus hours earlier than prior years. (They’ll) then be dismissed from school much earlier to probably empty homes.
Will it save taxpayers money? When and how much? I think the average sixth-grader can handle it.
From what I’ve seen by working there, no, no thank you.
Possibly a better plan would be to have what I call empty spaces plan. There are two door entrances in front of the now Conway Middle School. One entrance by the columns and the entrance near the railroad tracks, which I call entrance B. Next the mothball space would be made into middle school classrooms. Move all the seventh- and eighth-graders now that are on the left of entrance B to the new classrooms and what was the mothball space, which would leave classrooms in space on the left of the entrance B empty. Next, move all of the Conway Elementary into this left empty space. So, all the seventh and eighth grade would be right on the right, and all the Conway Elementary would be on the left. The now Conway Elementary would be empty, so move the Center Conway Rec Center into the empty Conway Elementary. Then the now Conway Rec Center would be empty, so move the town hall into this empty Center Conway Rec Center. And finally the empty town hall could be sold.
Yes, I do think that they said attend the Kennett Middle School, but the only way that they should attend the Kennett Middle School means we’re going to shut down one of the other schools, whether it be Pine Tree or one of those because it’s all about saving money, and we definitely know that the Conway School Board isn’t about that, so here we go again.
Yes, there’s definitely enough room for sixth-graders and also fifth-graders. It’s about the kids, and I believe that they could close one or two grammar schools and they will more than make up the difference. There are lots of large rooms that could be made into two rooms, plus the old gym. Come on school board, wake up. This is from a poor and frustrated taxpayer.
I think they absolutely should move the sixth-graders to the middle school. You know, with as much space as they have, and as little things to do with it, I wonder if we actually should’ve built the new high school.
Absolutely, let’s get smart and try to save some money.
Moving the sixth-graders is not in the best interest of our town. The school board is proposing to move the wrong students. If there’s enough room in the elementary school such that we could close one, then there’s enough room to move the seventh- and eighth-graders back to their neighborhood schools where the staff has known them for six years. The middle school has three teams of teachers; assign one to each of the elementary schools to teach the seventh- and eighth-graders. We then wouldn’t need the KMS administration, which would save the town money. They’ll turn the middle school building into the town offices and rec center, sell the rec center and town office buildings, which would save the town money. This might also reduce busing needs, which could save the town money. The Bartlett and Tamworth middle school students stay in their local schools instead of being added to the maelstrom that is KMS. Nobody wants to lose their neighborhood school, so leave our sixth-graders alone and return the seventh- and eighth-graders back to their neighborhood schools.
Yes, but that’s only one step. They should also close one of the elementary schools.
I think this is a very good idea to move the sixth-graders to the middle school and use some of that space that’s available. This is Jack from Conway.
Of course the sixth grade should be moved. Randy is spot on with this. It’s time Hounsell and the rest of the naysayers woke up and realized what efficiency is all about. Conway Village
Yeah, sure, great idea. What the heck, why not?
I thought all middle schools were sixth, seventh and eighth grades. I’m confused. My kids went to middle school in Rochester and it was all three.
It is regrettable that responses to this question will not be printed in the paper until after the school board meeting on Monday, although how much impact they would have on any board decision is open to question. With that said, it is my opinion that the Conway sixth-graders should attend KMS next school year (2018-19), taking the following into consideration: 1. The Conway School Board is on record as stating that such a move makes educational sense. 2. Various counter arguments seem focused on the loss of revenue from the sending towns, which is roughly estimated at $300,000 per year. For the sake of argument, let’s make the math is easy and assume that the “contracts with the sending towns” have 10 years to run. Total lost revenue over that period is $3 million, not an insignificant amount, until one considers that the total annual budget for this system is $40 million. The 10-year cost is $400 million, assuming no further increases in spending. Hence, the total loss in revenue is less than 1 percent of the current annual and 10-year (conservatively estimated) budgets.
3. At a very recent Conway Municipal Budget Committee meeting, the committee members were briefed on the dollars anticipated to be left in the general fund when the current year books are finally closed. The administration estimates that they will have $1.1 million (the conservative case) left in the general fund, (and the administration and school board can take a bow for that fact) prior to any action on the part of the school board to retain the 2.5 percent authorized by the voters a few years ago. 4. The total compensation cost for three school liaison officers was briefed at over $300,000, and we do not currently have any means of evaluation of their effectiveness. 5. While some may argue that we have no means in place to measure how educationally beneficial the movement of the sixth grade would be for the students, if we are to believe the expert’s literature, the benefits appear to outweigh the costs, which can be absorbed within the budget in any event.
Yes, it is long overdue!
- Category: Tele-Talk