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School board debates grade realignment

September 11, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Waynesboro Area School District's current grade configuration may be headed for changes, according to preliminary discussions Tuesday night by the school board.

The initial discussion by board members is based on a study of the current grade alignment conducted by E. I. Associates, a school consulting firm in Harrisburg, Pa. The next step, said Schools Superintendent Barry Dallara, is to hear the recommendations of an architect.

Dallara, in a letter to board members, said the board has to determine the most efficient and cost-effective way to realign the grades.

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Currently, grades kindergarten through six are housed in the district's four elementary schools. The middle school holds students in grades seven and eight, and the high school houses ninth- through 12th-graders.

School Board President Larry M. Glenn said the district's buildings are structurally sound. They've been maintained in good order, but some need to have their mechanical, electrical and lighting systems upgraded, he said.

Special education classes and computer labs require their own classrooms, he said. "That wasn't the case when these buildings were constructed. We've stretched some buildings as far as they can be stretched.

"Our biggest problem is in the high school," he said. "It's an old building. It's not crowded, but we need some space to expand."

An architect will be able to advise the board on the best grade-level alignment plan, he said. "Once that's done, then we'll have to decide how to structure the buildings," he said.

One realignment plan discussed Tuesday would make the four elementary schools house grades kindergarten through five, grades six and seven in their own building and eighth- and ninth-graders in another.

Under that plan, the high school would house grades 10 through 12.

Dallara said one way to accomplish the change would be to expand Hooverville Elementary to take more students from Summitview Elementary.

Dallara said the district needs to be more creative in its curriculum. It doesn't matter where the students are housed as long as the curriculum matches the grade levels, he said.

Some changes in curriculum are already under way to accommodate the changes, said Assistant Superintendent Gloria Pugliano.

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