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CASD website tool directs students to their middle school

The district is restructuring its middle schools to house grades 6 through 8 in two buildings

July 13, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Launched in early spring, a special section of the Chambersburg Area School District's website is helping families figure out which middle school their students will attend this fall, school officials said.

Parents can type their home address into the website's database to find out if their son or daughter will be going to Chambersburg Area Middle School North, formerly J. Frank Faust Junior High School, or Chambersburg Area Middle School South, the current middle school on Stouffer Avenue, district spokeswoman Sylvia Rockwood said.

The utility, which is driven by information from the school's transportation department, can be accessed from the home page of the district's website at www.chambersburg.k12.pa.us.

The announcement about the online resource and its intent came at a well-attended school board meeting, and several meetings with parents have been held since then, Rockwood said.

"Obviously, with moving to two middle schools, that's going to be a big change for the community and we wanted to notify parents as early as possible," she said.

The district is restructuring its middle schools to house all students in grades 6 through 8 in two buildings (Chambersburg Area Middle School and Faust). Ninth-graders will attend Chambersburg Area Senior High School starting this fall.

The actual location of a family's home is the determining factor in which school a student will attend and does not necessarily depend on the elementary school they attended.

Chambersburg Area Middle School Principal Kurt Widmann, who will become principal of CAMS South, said he is in favor of moving ninth grade to the high school because it will reduce middle school class size.

"We will now have 1,050 students per middle school," Widmann said in an email. "In the past, each school housed nearly 1,400 students. Class sizes also will be reduced from as high as 36 to around 28 to 29 a class."

Previously, sixth- and seventh-grade students went to Chambersburg Area Middle School before making the move over to Faust for eighth and ninth grade. The restructuring eliminates this transition, which is another positive aspect, Widmann said.

Widmann said Chambersburg Area Middle school has relocated 21 staff members to the other two schools to accommodate the switch, which will include balanced enrollment.

With the new school year a little more than a month away, the resource has gotten a nice response, Rockwood said.

"We've had that information out there and it's been very successful," Rockwood said. "Our parents (and) students have really enjoyed it. We know a lot of people have been using it."

Both middle schools will change their mascots to line up with the Chambersburg Area Senior High School Trojans rather than their previously used Cougars (CAMS) and Tigers (Faust), Widmann said.

"This hopefully will develop more community pride for our students and their families," he said.

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