September 27, 2022

Questions submitted to the Elementary Vision Team are answered following forums

Vision Team Forum Q&A

Editor’s Note: This is the second of two articles on the PCM Elementary Vision Team’s public forums held Jan. 24 and 25. Part Two addresses public questions and input from the forums.

Following the Vision Team presentations Jan. 24 and 25, questions were asked of the team and administration about the information presented. People were also able to submit questions to the team with the questions and answers, as distributed, are presented here:

The presenters keep saying that we share specific resources like music or have two resources in one school and only one at the other. What is the reason for sharing or why do we have unequal resources? Limited funding? Do student numbers at the school determine funding allocations?

Funding is the reason we “share” staff members such as P.E., Music, etc. Our struggling readers receive Title One Reading every day but we currently have equal staff (one in each building) even though Monroe Elementary has more needs.

If the plan is to pilot this plan next year with 4th/5th grades, won’t other grades be displaced? Or will 4th be in one and 5th be in the other?

While a lot of staff members wish we could all be placed in one building, our team think it would be best to begin our plan with both 4th-5th grades moving to Prairie City Elementary.

Is there that much open space at PCE that would allow for that move or will there need to be other changes to accommodate in terms of space? (4th/5th)

There is enough room. We have a map of all the classrooms and where people would need to move to.

How do you plan to address all the concerns without being in one building?

We plan to address them as they come. There are concerns no matter what option we do so we just need to be prepared to plan accordingly.

Would there be any sort of transportation between schools?

All students would be transported by the school.

What is the purposed location?

The purpose of the first step in our plan for (4th-5th) to attend Prairie City Elementary next year, is due to space. Monroe Elementary does not have any extra classrooms. Our long term goal would be to have all elementary students in one town with the possibility of an early childhood center in the other town.

What is the time line?

We are uncertain of the time line due to funding and space. We are taking small steps towards our end goal.

What is the plan for the unused site?

There will never be an “unused” site. All current buildings will house students and staff, it will just look different according to age/grade.

Is there going to be a bond?

We are currently working through the development of a long range plan for the PCM District. This plan will address building needs and long range needs of our district. The current proposal is not dependent on a bond referendum. But please note: there are many in the community that are pushing for the construction of a new gym — if this were to appear in the long range plan, the district would need a plan to pay for this facility improvement.

Grants available?

Dr. Havenstrite and the administration team are always looking for grant money. Over the past year, we have received at least three grants that have assisted us improve. We most recently received a $10,000 BELIEF Grant from the DE (one of 15 districts across the state.).

I don’t understand how being together will bring more volunteers or sub teachers/paras. How will funds be saved?

Currently, each building is trying to cover their own staff. When we are in one location we will be able to shift and be more nimble and responsive to needs. Regarding volunteers--currently we have a school with limited volunteers and one with many. If we were in one building, our volunteers would be available to all PCM Elementary classrooms.

How would the vision plan help? exc. functioning skills

The vision plan would allow our teachers much more time to collaborate and learn. During this time, we can assure that all teachers are getting adequate support and all students are receiving equitable services.

How will we fund all day Preschool?

We plan on charging a monthly tuition for the afternoon. This tuition will be a very nominal fee used to cover the additional expenses.

I am concerned about too many groupings and pullout groups in lower elementaries.

We already group students according to need. Combining resources simply makes our groups more efficient and student centered.

I don’t see how changing to one site changes specials?

Then specials teachers don’t have to drive to two different buildings and will actually want to stay in our district.

Please bring back the wrap around services before and after school programs that went away when COVID came. It really hurt working families.

PCM School district did not discontinue the before and after school program. The provider discontinued this program due to staffing shortages. We would LOVE to provide before and after school services to our families. This is something we will continue to reach out to potential service providers.

Why is DK going to be in Monroe? Why not in both towns?

We do not have enough kids in the program to support both towns. We also don’t have an extra room in PC for it.

Will combining the schools actually increase scores and if so, is it worth the cost?

While there is no way we can predict individual student achievement scores. We are very confident that providing our teachers an opportunity to collaborate and improve their teaching pedadogy together AND to maximize our support to students will create an opportunity for high quality instruction. The research is clear on the impact of the quality of instruction on student achievement (aka scores). Yes, we strongly believe that grade alignment is worth the very minimal cost to implement.

Are we going to be able to get enough food service to cover more students at PCE?

Not sure how to answer this. Food Service providers in both schools and private sector are struggling to find employees. We will continue to actively recruit and transition staff as needed so the Nutrition Department staffing needs are met.

How do we make sure these kids aren’t going from bus to bus?

We are using a routing software that is designed to create manageable and efficient transportation routes. The routes in PCM have not been redesigned for many years. This will improve routes for all students.