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Elementary Reorganization Information

Educational Benefits

 

What are some of the educational benefits of this model?

  • Curriculum resources and special programs are provided in an equitable manner and targeted to developmental needs of the students   

  • Greater regular collaboration among grade-level teachers (will reduce or eliminate the need for two-hour delays for professional development)    

  • Balanced class sizes and the ability to easily group and re-group for specialized instruction, social-emotional needs, and/or targeted interventions

  • Age-specific special activities such as assemblies, field trips, school/community events, creating both opportunities and efficiencies

  • In addition to traditional intervention services, advanced students can be pulled together to receive meaningful enrichment services -- these groups can be flexible and responsive to student needs

  • Student connection with peers earlier and prior to the crucial middle school developmental years; students will be with their “Dover Class” starting in kindergarten

  • Economic efficiencies with supplies, software purchases, and classroom resources

  • Accomplishes integration with our diverse student community, and class sizes can be balanced equally both in number and student learning needs

  • Continued valuable Title I Reading Interventions at the early grade levels for all students in need (under current school configurations and federal regulations, one elementary school would have no Title I services in 2019-2020)

School Organization

 

What will the set-up or organization for each school be?

South School will serve students in Preschool through Grade 1.  Mrs. Tracie Murphy will be the principal.

East School will serve students in Grades 2 and 3.  Mr. Zach Zesiger will be the principal.

Dover Avenue will serve students in Grades 4 and 5.  Mrs. Renee Sattler will serve as principal.


How will students be assigned to classrooms?

Students will be assigned to classrooms by the building principal, as in the past.  Consideration will be give to students’ diverse needs and learning styles, and principals will collect teacher information in advance, as in the past, and work together to try to find the best placement for each and every child.

While principals will not take “teacher requests,” they welcome any information you would like to share about your child that may help them find the best teacher for your child.  Such information might include their learning styles, any relative strengths and weaknesses, any student that your child would benefit from having in class with them or with whom they may be best separated from. We encourage parents to call or email their child’s principal for 2019-2020 with any information such as this.  



Will the district still accept open enrollment students from outside the district?

Yes.  Our first priority is for children who are residents of the district. Opportunities are then available for children who reside outside the district depending on grade level and class sizes.

 

Will you still have the half-day TAG program you currently have for grades 3-5?

Yes, we will still have this program, and it will be housed at East School.  Students will be transported at noontime, as they currently are. This works well, as it is at the end of a preschool route that we run midday, and we are transporting other students at that time.  Each TAG classroom will have a full-size room.


Transportation

 

How will transportation work if my child currently rides a bus?

If your child was on a bussing route this year (2018-19), he will be able to ride the bus to and from school at a neighborhood stop similar in location to the one provided this year.  Bus routes will be posted this summer after new kindergarteners are entered into the route system. While routes are always subject to change, we do not expect significant changes to our route.  


Kindergarten and 1st grade students will not have to transfer busses. These youngest children will stay on the bus that picks them up at their bus stop all the way to South School.  Students in Grades 2-5 may have to transfer busses at one of the three elementaries, similar to the way many children do now.


The procedures at the end of the day will work the same way.  All students who ride a bus will get on the bus at the end of the day and will exit the bus at their neighborhood bus stop.  Again, some students in grade 2-5 could have a transfer; however, kindergarten and 1st grade students will not be transferring busses.


What if my child is a “walker” to school and a bus does not currently pick my child up?

Your child’s “bus stop” will be the elementary school closest to you.  If that is your child’s school, she will stay there and walk home at the end of the day. If your child is attending another building, there will be a designated area with supervision as she waits to ride the bus to the appropriate school.  At the end of the day, your child will do the same as she rides the bus back to the school that is your child’s “bus stop.” She will walk home from there.


What if I choose not to use the bus system and drive my child to school?

Parents can choose what is most convenient for their family . Our plan includes a morning and afternoon time period of 25 minutes to allow family members to drop off  and pick up children from school if they choose not to use the bus system. Supervision will be available at each school at 8:30am and school will begin at 8:55. This should allow a window of time for parents to drop off or pick up at more than one school if they choose.


A benefit we have in Dover is the proximity between our elementary schools.  The distances and estimated travel times are noted below:

East -- Dover Avenue:   1.3 miles || 5 minutes

East -- South:        1.6 miles || 6 minutes

South -- Dover Avenue:   1.9 miles || 6 minutes


Will my child still be able to ride the bus from a babysitter’s house or child care center?

Yes. Actually, this new system allows us to transport children to any of our schools from any home or child care facility within the district.  


Will this change mean my child will be on the bus longer?

As always, these will vary by route.  However, the transportation plan only extends our length of time for elementary routes by approximately 5 minutes. We do not expect drivers’ bus route times to change significantly. Due to annual rerouting, it is possible that a student’s “bus stop” location or time schedule could change, which occurs every year based upon current student enrollment.


Will you still transport 5th grade band and orchestra students to school from the middle school?

Yes, this route will actually be shorter, and routes will be reduced in number because all students will be going to Dover Avenue.  Additionally, students will arrive at school in time for breakfast and on time to class.


When will I find out my child’s bus pick-up and drop-off times?

We typically post these routes in mid to late August and plan to meet the same timelines as in years past.

 

Given the changes to this year’s schedule, we will work to post this information as quickly as possible this year.


UPDATE -- The following information was included in a letter and survey that was sent to parents in early March 2019:

Transportation is a top priority. We want to provide the best options for our families. While all schools will still start and end at the same time, it is likely that schools will dismiss groups of students at different times to help with traffic flow, bus routes, and parent pick-up routines. Our elementary schools currently use these practices and will continue to do so.


Our Transportation Department has been working hard to run simulations with our current students, and while it may change some after we register our new kindergarteners this spring, routes look to remain consistent.


We want to help families and provide options for your specific needs. Depending on your address, if your children currently walk to school, your nearest “bus stop” may be at that nearby elementary school. If you are currently on a bus route, your children can ride a bus and we will take them to their school(s). We remain committed to kindergarten and first-grade students not transferring busses within their routes.


A key to success will be consistency for students and early awareness of our families’ transportation needs and desires.  We are also interested in working directly with our families with children in all three schools who need to drive their children to and from school.

School Day Questions

 

Will there be a “staggered start” and “staggered dismissal”?

No. All elementary instruction will start at 8:55 am. We believe the 25 minutes of supervision at each school in the morning, and ample supervision at the end of the school day will allow time for parents to drop off or pick up children at multiple schools if they choose to do so. This will also allow time for our busses to get to all schools, as well as allow students to participate in the morning breakfast program if desired.


Will breakfast continue to be served?

Yes, breakfast will still be served in all of our schools and is available to all students.


My student has made many friends in his current school; will my child be around all students in his grade?

Yes. The whole grade will eat at the same time period and will have noon recess together.


Will there still be after-school or before-school study clubs?

Yes.  We plan to continue study clubs.


Will you continue to have the monthly 2-hour delays for professional development?

No; not in 2019-2020. A big part of the need for those days was to provide grade-level collaboration time.  With grade-level teachers in the same building, we will be able to better incorporate this into our school day.


Community and Parent Involvement

 

How will PTGs be organized in this new structure?

Principals plan to meet together with PTG officers in February to discuss how the groups want to be organized to best serve their students. It will be a collaborative effort between building leaders and PTG leaders.


How will students and parents be oriented to the new school?

We are planning student tours during the school day this school year, as well as information sessions hosted by the school principal prior to the end of this school year.  Students and parents will get to see the school layouts and meet their principals and the school’s teachers in advance of the school year starting.


Will older and younger students still be involved in cross-age level mentoring activities (ie kindergarten buddies, book buddies, etc.)?

Yes, our teachers and principals will plan these activities.  We do this now with the high school and middle school students and  plan to continue these activities between the three elementaries.


Will schools still keep their special events scheduled throughout the year?

Principals and PTG members plan to meet and discuss all building activities  -- both those specific to each building as well as opportunities to combine all grade levels in district-wide community events for families to participate in together.


"Making the Move"

 

Are you planning to have fixtures such as toilets, urinals, and drinking fountains moved during this transition?

No. The current restroom facilities and drinking fountains will be sufficient for students at the appropriate grade levels. At South School, there may be a need for a built-in “platform” or step up, as we saw used in other districts that have made a similar move. We will not be adding restrooms to kindergarten classrooms.


Are you planning to move playground equipment?

No. All of our playgrounds will have sufficient equipment for students attending that school.


Will you need to move furniture between schools? 

Yes, we will need to move some student furniture.  As we are changing the location of where some grades are taught, and the equipment/materials needed to educate those grades/ages of students will be moved as part of our summer custodial and maintenance work. For example, the kindergarten size chairs and desks at East and Dover Avenue will be moved to South, while the larger desks and chairs at South will be moved to the appropriate schools.


Financial and Organizational Efficiencies

 

Where do the efficiencies in this plan come from?

  • Organizing in this way allows the district to reduce staff now and in the future, if needed, in a way that keeps class sizes more balanced and equitable without moving students across the district each year

  • There will be less duplication of classroom supplies, textbooks, and materials

  • Professional development for teachers can be targeted, focused, and intentional across the district

  • Software purchases can be specific by grade level and duplication of software licenses can be reduced or eliminated

  • Libraries/media centers can pull together books and resources that are specific for certain grade levels of students and provide more options for students

  • Assemblies and special programs can be targeted for specific age groups


Will our transportation department be efficient?

This new grade-level configuration removes the geographical boundaries that determined where a child attended. Additionally, it removes the need for intra-district open enrollment (a child attending a school outside of his residential area) so all children living in a “bussing” area can be transported to any school.  Children living in the same household will ride the same bus and transported to their appropriate school. Removing these boundaries and policies allows our transportation department to gain some efficiencies in routes that we do not have in our current configuration.


Upon simulation with current students and a decision on how routes would be constructed, the bussing looks to be far more efficient than originally projected.


How can you be involved?

  1. Submit questions through the portal on our web page.  Someone from the District will respond to you.

  1. Call or email your child’s principal with questions.

Mrs. Murphy, South School (PreSchool, KG and Grade 1)

murphyt@dovertornadoes.com

330-364-7111


Mr. Zesiger, East School (Grades 2 and 3):

zesigerz@dovertornadoes.com

330-364-7114


Mrs. Sattler, Dover Avenue (Grades 4 and 5):

sattlerr@dovertornadoes.com

330-364-7117


3.   Talk positively with your child(ren) about the advantages and new experiences they can look forward to.  We hope you’ll consider joining your school’s PTG to stay involved with your child’s experience!


Questions?
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