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Canton Superintendent: Academics at Heart of Reconfiguration Study

Kevin Case says space, transportation and social considerations are also important as district looks at pros and cons of systems that combine grades 3 to 5 and 6 to 8.

While there are other factors, academic excellence is really at the core of the school district’s plan to look at the pros and cons of combining grades 3 to 5 and 6 to 8, Superintendent Kevin Case said this week.

Currently Cherry Brook accommodates grades K-3, Canton Intermediate grades 4 to 6 and Middle school 7 and 8.

Case said one key question is which way is better to implement the “Common core state standards," a Connecticut adopted national effort to standardize curriculum.

“The timing is right to see if these grade configurations are working with the standards,” Case said.

Case acknowledges that there certainly are other issues. One is grouping third and sixth graders with their older counterparts at a younger age. Case said he’s already heard concerns about the idea of putting sixth graders on a bus with high-school students. In addition, space at Cherry Brook continues to be an issue and while declining numbers in first grade allowed an extra extended day kindergarten session this year, it could once again be an issue if the state requires all–day kindergarten.

The issues are the reason for a comprehensive study of the issue and there are no preconceived notions, he said.

“Everyone’s mind is very open at this point.” Case said.

Over the next few months, a group of staff, along with parents from each school, selected with the help of Parent Teacher Organizations, is going to study the issue.

Case said the first step is to see if space and transportation issues would even accommodate a change. The committees will then look at the alternate configurations and study the positives and negatives, Case said.

The superintendent said he hopes to have a recommendation to the Board of Education by February or March.

The board would have to approve any major changes but if both or one alternative grouping is proposed, parents will have the opportunity to voice their opinions, he said. In addition, parents will be surveyed as part of the study.

 

 

Bob Franks September 28, 2012 at 10:58 AM
One of the reasons our family selected Canton as the community to raise our children is due to the current configuration of schools and the opportunity for children to grouped with their developmentally similar counterparts. This is one of things that makes Canton schools unique in the region and I believe one of the school district's greatest strengths. As a child and adolescent psychologist, I believe that children's positive social development both complements and enhances their academic experience. I would need to see some extremely compelling evidence to support reconfiguration of the Canton schools. Dr. Bob Franks
Kristie Griswold September 28, 2012 at 03:27 PM
As a parent of a child who will be graduating in 2014 I realize this decission will not have a big impact on me and therefore I am not really for or against it. I would just point out that in many parts of the country schools are regionalized, including the district in New York that I graduated from. Kids ride the same bus from Pre-K through grade 12 and the schools were Pre-K-5 and 6-12. Although the idea of shuffling our grades around here in Canton may seem unsettling in many areas it is the norm. I will be interested in what the studies show.
Betty September 29, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Is there a need to build more classrooms or schools?

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