By Maurice Warren,2014-04-21 22:22
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    District Task Force on Realignment

The following represents a compilation of GROUP responses from the community and staff

    presentations. All comments have been recorded as written.

* Indicates response was given multiple times.

February 2 7:00 PM

1. What made sense? Any “aha” revelations? What really resonated with you? th*Kids need to come together before 5 grade

    Didn’t realize SR had such a large special education population. (See ―District Elementary Student Enrollment

    data link on district home page.)

    Fixing the junior high problem is a good idea before any realignment Up to the board to determine class size? (yes)

    Good idea, bad plan

    Click of peers

    Doubling (or tripling) of resources, cost of busing of students Equitable class sizes

    The goal of having all learning material in one spot though through email the teacher can communicate relatively


    Class size discrepancies

    Special Needs programs

    Need more equal class sizes

    Sharing of resources

    Combining grades

    Combining resources

    Eventually a new junior high needs to be built or added on Good thing to education and treat them as equal as possible Impressive communication by the school. Thank you for your efforts. We’ve learned a lot.

    Teacher working together as a team

    Move slower with more research, not ready for board for several months (I think you’ll find this to be the case. The excellent comments and questions by the communities will need to be addressed.)

February 6 - 5:00 PM

Keep K-4 & move 5-6

    Task Force needs more parents

    We want the least amount of bussing possible for younger students It seems like it would be great to have 5-6 @ Shell Rock enjoying the playground and the facilities before entering

    Jr. High

    How was the Task Force selected? (By nomination by building principals.) Who selected the Task Force members? (Administrative team.) Differst percent of Special Ed students in the schools.

    How much do we get for Greenview? (We have approximately 35 students and we receive full state aid for them. That’s approximately $4800 each but only on a ―per day of attendance‖ from their districts. Few generate full state aid per student.)

    How much do we pay for Greenview? (Our cost to use the Leid Center is approximately $15,000 per year. We pay not heat or electricity. Aid generated pays teachers and staff and the school-owned business Go-Hawk Graphics subsidizes the school’s costs.)

    Transitions are a problem.

    February 7 8:30 AM

     thth5 & 6 grades come together

    Simple solutions

    Numbers show drop in achievement with transition

    SR vs S.E. (community)

    Integrating all district students (Shell Rock with Waverly) is an important goal

    Inequalities in distribution, particularly special needs children, is definitely unfair to some classes. Looking at long range situation is valuable thought exercise for community & committee members.

February 9 7:00 PM

Inclusion of Shell Rock students w/ band, other primary school activities.

    Equal distribution for special needs th5-6 Shell Rock integrated when Waverly does.

    Probs htiw schools with only one section per grade

    The presentation was changed for each meeting!!

    K-4 SR K-4 C K-4 WC K-4 Irv 5-8 Middle School

    This plan is going nowhere.

    What is the task force’s next move/plan?

    Could we realign the realignment? (kind of start over!) (I believe it could be considered that way as we analyze the community input data.)

    Are you going to take anything to the school board before meeting with public again and sharing what will be proposed? (I don’t believe that is the plan. We will certainly share all we have learned with the board but I

    seriously doubt any decision would be made without obtaining further community input.)

2. What further considerations need to be made? Have we overlooked anything?

February 2 7:00 PM

     th*What’s a better fit for 5-6 grades? Irving or SR?

    Have special education classrooms/populations been assigned specifically to classroom in buildings? (yes) Are all special education students from W-SR (no) Why are we taking them in? (We are the regional school and have resources)

    *Concerned about length of bus ride. If we understand the busing would a kndg. At SR make a 3 bus transition? (No) th*Start changing at 5-6

    Change current school boundaries

K-2 still in 2 separate bldg. still isolate teachers.

    Can’t tch get together to plan curr without being together? (There is no contracted time allowed)

    More time spent learn on buses. i.e. band, sports

    Opinion to have more kids to interact

    Overall- opinion of transition is more pointed to common goal

    Many studies say transition, bussing bad

    3 different kids going to be at different schools

    *Want K-4 stay the same- 5-8 middle school

    Why not open enrollment

    Kids do slip through the cracks as far as busing

    5 year old niece never got on bus at Carey, tried to walk to babysitter by Star Motel, second time got off bus at high school walked to aunts house thThe fact that all W-SR students have to be ―W-SR‖ students. I am a 10 grader at the high school in Waverly from

    Shell Rock. I like to small, comfortable feeling it featured. The transition at the junior high was hard. You would be putting younger children through that 4-5 times.

    *Cost of bussing. What is the projection of students coming in? (To remain stable or slight increase but is only a projection. Some believe W-SR will continue to grow. How early will children catch buses and how long on them. (To be determined by number of routes and buses.)

    Social bonding and having classes with different students each year

    Get outside resources/consideration to come in

    Problems at West Cedar

    Provide visual for the plan for special needs students

    *5-8 middle school?

    Where is the addition of 2 rooms going to go at Irving? (If approved, to the east of current building) What ―whole person do we gain with 5-6 different schools in 13 years?

    Getting siblings on the same bus to come home. (Same bus would always take kids home) Efficiency of one bus coming to the home at night for a family

    High School alternative to West Cedar keep them closer to High School and Bremwood. (Our alternative high school students have no connection to Bremwood except that we rent space. No classes or staff shared.) Research

    More parental input

    Different conference schedules

    JH, 4 grades 5-8

    K-8 to Shell Rock, enlarged building

    Multiple transitions academically it has been proven- eq. of other towns using this model and showing success Want to see actual nos of class size per school (See enrollment data on home page)

    Whatever proposal is implemented, we need to keep in mind that it needs to be best for kids. This is more of a parent and community issue and it needs to focus on the students.

February 6 5:00 PM

Money Received from special ed should be used to get more help for teachers

    Families with larger #’s of children really dislike so many different schoolswho wants to run to 4 or 5 schools?

    We would like to see SR 5 & 6 graders mixed with Waverly 5-6 gradersabsolutely

    However we want K-4 schools for the rest—Don’t separate K-4

    Busing situations. Too much bus transitions and security issues

Kids starting earlier

    Earlier arrival

    Realign boundries

    Still would need multiple copies of materials

    Middle school updating more of a need

    Are parents going to want to send their kids to West Cedar with their past problem with the smell? Educational research info. on transitions

    If K-2 are in 2 schools will the students stay in those same groups & school throughout the 3 years? (Yes unless parents ask to consider changes.)

    I do not see any lack of resources in any areas.

    Make transition when JH/Middle School issue is settled (That seems to be coming up often as a suggestion.)

February 7 8:30 AM

# of changes ththLooking at # Shell Rock kids 5 & 6 grades

    Think people are moving closer to schools

    Can we add to all buildings to reduce class sizes.

    Elimination of shuttle busavailability of this for all access

    Why not keep a K-2 school at Shell Rock, keep younger kids in the community

    Strong support for keeping young children in a neighborhood school.

    For families/students, K-4 schools are the strongest bonds with schools in terms of parent involvement. Could that be replicated at shorter grade-span schools? (Yes, it could if distribution of students is monitored.) Particularly if it’s not being successfully done at Irving/Jr High.

February 9 7:00 PM

Greenview w/ Preschool?

    Why can’t parents request to change schools for certain circumstances? ―Set guidelines to change school (1) class size (2) problems w/ students in classes‖

    Transitionshow good is it for children to change schools every 2/3 years. (That seems to be a point well taken by the school.) thWhy not bus 5-6 grade to SR & bring SR to Irving? (We have and will discuss that should when discussed. Trying to accommodate for St. Pauls and the music programs being together made a difference as did the convenience of the parents.)

    Concerns about number of transitions—in particular young kids, special needs kids, i.e. kids who don’t adjust well to change.

    Familiarity w/ teachers a big plus.

    What about a central campus or some configuration that takes the realignment proposal a step further? (Good point. One that needs to be explored. Cost would be a consideration.)

    9 years of busing, unfair to Shell Rock students.

    Not as many transitions we want fewer not more

    Mentoringyounger children learn from being around their older peers

    Re-Establish boundry lines for school districting

    Economic considerationshousing values Shell Rock, Southeast

    If a middle school change is anticipated, wait and make the changes together

Have a blueprint of schools available to see which rooms are being used

    Does proposal allow any growth K-2what will happen to class size as Waverly continues to grow? (The proposal

    has not shown growth in excess of what we have gained already. Being able to equally distribute new students should be easier but that can also happen with all elementary buildings being K-4 as many have suggested.) Does an equal distribution of low vs high income students change the impact of income on achievement? Are families with kids in a large class given the option to move to a school w/ a smaller class? (When principals get new students in town they meet to determine the optimum placement with the thoughts of the families considered.)

    Could a ―bubble‖ class room be created (maybe at S.R.) with an extra section that moves with the larger class (Yes,

    if parents would not mind having their child at a different building.)

    Look at creative ways to use empty classrooms in Shell Rock (collaborations with other agencies, city gov’t. etc)

    Prefer K-4 at S. Rock

    HS & JH bldgs need work . . . maybe more than elementaries

    Is there a way to include St. Paul’s? (Yes, we consider students that will come to our JH.) They are consulted

    often as Mrs. Lines is a principal in both schools.) If we in W-SR have overloads, can something be done with that? (We do move new students into the building that has the most room. If classes become too big we have either hired associates to help or, as in the past, split the class into two sections if we have room to place them.) Financial Aspectknow what can be afforded before we go forward

    If there are budget freezes now how is this going to happen (We froze our general fund budget until further review on March 1. It looks as though most line item dollars will be ―unfrozen.‖ That was done to make certain added

    heat, electrical, and fuel costs would not drain our general fund. Building or remodeling does not come from general fund money but from another fund such as Physical Plant Enhancement Levy money or the Local Option Sales Tax money we receive each year.)

    Consider K-4 schools, combine all students at 5-8 then on to H.S.

3. What further questions/concerns do you have?

February 2 7:00 PM

    Is it possible to get extra training for staff in Shell Rock to help with special ed? (We do include that resource during some in-service time. It is an ongoing resource.)

    What will it take to keep the neighborhood schools? (It is difficult to guarantee that since new students are placed to keep the class sizes equitable. As presented, only 16% walk to school as reported by principals.) Can the task force give an explanation of the process and rationale for the proposal? What? Why? Why this way? What other alternatives did they look at? (These questions are to be answered at the community presentations) Would busing be direct or through the high school? (Currently, both could be used but it is still in discussion should a proposal be accepted by the board.)

    Would the proposal save money for the district? (It would cost more to adopt the current proposal but the benefits for kids are important.)

    How much more will busing cost if fuel prices go up again? (Rising fuel costs will be a constant problem for the budget. We will not know for sure until the prices stabilize. Total busing increase for fuel and drivers are estimated at about $40,000/year. The number of new buses needed will depend on the proposal used.) Are there external financial incentives to encourage this? State? Federal? (None that we’re aware of right now but are exploring that.)

    NCLB implications. (In that it is believed greater collaboration between teachers translates into great resources for students and development)

    * Why not focus on a 5-8 middle school? (I believe that is a good idea with what seems like support by many) What were the alternatives? (Many other possible scenarios were looked but and any and all will be considered. The 5 guiding principles were used to select the proposal.)

    Could we get the best test results by changing schools after a No Child Left Behind test year? (Our test scores are used every year and not periodically.)

    Have wider grade spans been considered? (Yes, but no one building can hold wider grade spans than are currently used.)

    Have they considered negative effects on the town? (One concern has been property values. Some feel they could be lowered. Others feel they could be increased.)

    What about extra traffic and parking? (We would accommodate any extra traffic but it should not increase with this proposal as the same number of students would be in any building. Traffic and parking would be about the same.)

    How would they recoup lost tax revenue? Or funds lost when students transfer out of the district? (There is no evidence that will occur. All districts are concerned with any loss of revenue. Some feel tax revenue will increase but that is not a consideration of any plan. Any plan will be based on what is best for kids.) What’s the precedent that’s set with this proposal for consolidation? How would Janesville be accommodated?

    (There is no plan for consolidation as it has never been discussed.)

    Does it make W-SR more or less attractive than other schools to families considering moving here or open enrolling? (Since there are other schools with similar alignment, it’s not a new option. The schools we’ve talked to that have a similar alignment have all said it was the best thing they could have done. We need to take our particular communities ideas about our schools specifically, however.)

    Don’t teachers come together during in-service days? (Yes but staff development of all types are done at that time. What is being discussed is day-in, day-out communication and contact. In addition, sharing of skills with other classes would be easier to accomplish.)

    How equitable are the class sizes right now. (All data is on district webpage. Click District Enrollment Data) How many sources did you look at? (Sources provided by McRel (Mid-continent Research on Education and Learning, ASCD)

    SE high school mixing with preschool? (That has not been determined as the best proposal.) What about our town? What will happen? (It is being assumed by some this would be detrimental to Shell Rock. Many feel that would not be the case. Currently, single section classes are at Shell Rock. Will enrollment stay constant? If the past is any indication, enrollment may not increase. Would it be better to have every W-SR student pass through the building at Shell Rock). It is too good a schoolhouse to not use.) Wouldn’t we be wasting money on busing? Could we better use the space we have? (We do currently use all the

    space we have. That is why we were able to house special education classes at SR since there were, and still are empty classrooms.)

    Don’t want to lose our grade school. Eventually is the SR school to be closed or phased out if we go to a 5-8

    middle school concept? (No one would want to see the SR facility close. No one believes that will or should happen. It is simply too good a building and community not to utilize. That is not nor has been the intended result. Some are saying the district has this as a ―hidden agenda‖. It is simply not accurate.)

    When was the last time bus route was reviewed? (They are reviewed each year and necessary adjustments made. Constant review is expected to continue.)

    Why 3-4 at SR? (It was felt there would be less transportation costs.) thSuggest leaving it as is except combine all 5-6 instead of at 7. (There have been several comments related to this.

    We need to discuss more to determine if that would be optimal.)

What is the monetary value of the school? (Not sure what is meant. Please call.)

    Purchasing more buses to move kids faster. (Any proposal will need to be supported by adequate busing.) Janesville? (There are no talks anticipated with Janesville.)

    Costs of changing ele to alternative school? (Most all supplies and equipment are already part of Greenview Alternative HS. Some changes to restroom fixtures would need to take place if this happens.) What is PPL levy. (Physical Plant Enhancement Levy dollars are generated by property valuations. Schools use these fund solely for building repair, remodeling, or replacement.)

February 6 5:00 PM

     rdstWhat year is the data from on the ITBS chart? How do we show growth of 1.3 for 3 grade when it’s the 1 year

    they have taken it. (That illustrated growth from the previous year they took the assessment. All data is current.) How many sp. needs kids in the Shell Rock school are from school? (You can see all enrollment data on this website by clicking on the link. It will show all attendance centers enrollment.) ththWhat needs to be added to Irving to accommodate SR 5 & 6 graders? Why build on if we will revamp the

    middle school/Jr. High. (2-4 rooms would be needed for Irving. Why build is the very question we are grappling with.)

    If funding were not a considerationwould we build a new building? (I think the board would be interested in that if money were not a consideration. Sadly, it always is, though.)

    Who (what parent) wants their preschooler in a building with the alternative High School? (I’m not sure but I know

    head start parents enjoy that resource.)

    Why does the Alt. High School need that much space? There are not that many students there at any one time

    they are out working etc… (We have to have 2 sessions to accommodate the number of students there. It’s not that they need that much room since they do not. It was just an available location under that proposal.) The committee is not being up front because they have not told us that we will need to build on to Irving. (I have mentioned that and it has come up several times. No deception was planned on our part.)

    Is the W-SR District concerned about how many parents will Open Enroll out of the district if this proposal goes through? iepeople who work in Cedar Falls would take their kids there to school.(W-SR is always worried about enrollment. We would not want any students to leave.)

    What about parent volunteerism if a family has 3 kids in 3 different elementary buildings? And is it healthy for the family system to have siblings torn from each other? (No, probably not. Some parents have students in 3 buildings this year, also. It’s not the best thing for parents.)

    We aren’t asking for a change so why is the board putting the ―cart before the horse‖? (That was our purpose of

    generating discussion with our communities.) thstrdWhat @ 4 Grade friends for 1 graders? And 3 grade friends for kindergartners? We lose that role modeling of

    ―big kid‖ behavior. (That would be a problem.)

    What are you going to do about the Special Needs Classes at Shell Rock if this plan does not go through? (Find a better way to equalize them. I have been discussing that with AEA267 and the principals. We will need to find a way to address that inequity. I am confident we can.)

    What do parents do when children get sick or need to be picked up.

    Mixing pre-school with Greenview students @ SE doesn’t seem wise for young children. Are they the role models we want? (That is up to those making that decision. We have had excellent results as our Greenview students have been working at Head Start for a number of years. In fact, they are up for a Governor’s Award for their work there.)

    Preschool at same school as Greenview cost of transportationwill this hurt field trip availability (frozen money)

    (It seems most do not favor this so I believe it will not be included.)

    Will West Cedar/Carey be able to support all K-2 in the future (We believe at current enrollment it will. There is not guarantee that we will not have substantial growth. While a good thing, it will make us consider options. I feel confident we can adjust accordingly.)

    The Buddy system for reading etcK-4 will you need more aides to take the place of the Buddy group

    How may teachers/Aides etc will we lose? (We would not have fewer students to serve so no deduction is anticipated.)

    What does low vs high income kids have to do with this? (It is one way the state department of education determines student achievement as a ―subgroup.‖ The same with gender and ethnicity.)

    Build a new school for K-4 in NE

    What will happen if Janesville joins W-SR

    Build more rooms at the HS nowwith the Aud & Gym

    How does this effect SR residents? The summer sportslittle league, scouts Boy/Girl (The summer programs

    would be affected by the school since that is a city resource.)

    Where would they expand at Irving? (Mr. Wilcox has stated any growth there should be to the east.)

February 7 8:30 AM

GreenviewSE would are have to be rezoned for commercial (No zoning change would be needed.)

    Alt Schoolwork with little ones

    Stay as is offer more shuttles to offer after school activities rdTransitionswill it effect younger kids more than older kids (i.e. transitions between 2-3 grades) (That seems to

    be the global research. Our individual school data is on the presentation.)

    Isn’t there a better way to equitably distribute special needs children? (We are researching that to see if we can do

    that better. Space is a consideration, however.)

    Look at school district as a business: how can we best allocate resources? What is most efficient? (Good point and one our business manager deals with daily. That is why we currently have frozen the general fund although we feel most will be reinstated.

    West Cedar still a definite concern for many. (The questions, concerns over West Cedar were put to the medical groups, EPA, and OSHA many times. Their findings, after concentrated testing and analyzing is that West Cedar is a safe building environmentally. If any have sensitivity from the earlier irritant, they have been given options for accommodations.)

    Too many transitions also an over-riding concern

February 9 7:00 PM

―Distribution of resources‖ argument rings hollow—no system is going to perfectly allocate everything

    Bussingif all or most students will be spending 45-60 min (or more) daily, buses should have supervision OUR IDEAL SCENARIO 9-12 High School 5-8 Middle School K-4 Elementary (This scenario is coming up with increasing frequency. It should give us a lot to think about long-term.)

    Place this on hold until new bond comes updecisions can be made re junior high

    We would be willing to have our children travel farther if it means they can be in one place longer. More meetings to review alternate ideas

    Is staff input (comments, alternatives) also on the website (Not all have been received by this office but we will when they are. We do have some, however, and they will be place on the website. The majority favored some plan to bring like grade teachers together when possible.)

    Can a class size limit be set? (It can and we have tried. Each principal has that decision.)

    ndIs K-4 the best. I still have had some K issues w/ 2.

    How about this? K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12

    1% sales tax is going to areas that don’t need improvement.

    We would like to see a wider range of Iowa Test of Basic Skills to see if transitions truly do have a negative affect on students. Could we see a 10 yr. span of test results over 10 different classes? (Those scores do exist and can be

    received from Jim Janssen, curriculum director.)

    Have you looked at other communities that have made ―similar‖ changes & how this has affected test scores, students, etc. for good or bad? (Yes and they have responded in a favorable way. Each community is different, however, with different needs and values. Some mention Vinton-Shellsburg. They have a K-4, K-5(Shellsburg), 6-8 middle school, and a 9-12 high school. Due to that reorganization I’m told by their superintendent they will close 3 buildings.)

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