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School board considers moving students

February 16, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Several students could be moved to different schools next school year to resolve enrollment growth and space issues.

Washington County Public Schools Chief Operating Officer William Blum recommended shifting some student groups around, including returning some students to their home school, during Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting.

The recommendation calls for:

· Moving Salem Avenue Elementary School's fifth grade from Western Heights Middle School back to Salem Avenue.

· Moving Winter Street Elementary School's fifth grade from Western Heights Middle School to Salem Avenue Elementary School.

· Moving the middle school portion of Antietam Academy out of the main building at South Hagerstown High School to Western Heights Middle School.

Director of Facilities Management Rodney Turnbough said he believed the Antietam Academy middle schoolers could be kept separate from the rest of the school's student population.

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Antietam Academy serves students whose behavior is disturbing to teachers and fellow students and/or who have a high level of Attention Deficit Disorder or distractibility, and/or who have pronounced academic deficits, Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan has said.

Blum said Western Heights has approximately 223 empty seats and the academy, at its peak, would have 40 middle school students.

The move would free up seven classrooms at South High, which has experienced significant increases in student enrollment, he said.

Morgan said this probably would be a temporary move.

· Keeping second-graders at Funkstown Elementary School. Under the current system, this year's first-graders at Funkstown would attend second grade at Emma K. Doub Elementary School in the fall because the schools are paired, Blum said.

Doub is overcrowded and Funkstown has a bigger cafeteria, school system officials said.

Funkstown has one portable classroom now and would have three if the school keeps its second-graders, Blum said.

The move would better balance enrollment between the schools and, instructionally, it's better to keep the second-graders with the younger students, he said.

The school board is expected to decide at its March 1 meeting whether to approve the moves, allowing two weeks for community feedback.

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