Parkview School District Moves 6th Graders to High School - Paycheck

Parkview School District Moves 6th Graders to High School

Incoming sixth-grade students in the Parkview School District in the fall of 2021 will attend classes at the Parkview Jr./Sr. High School instead of at Parkview Elementary School. Increased enrollment and a need for additional space are among the primary reasons for the relocation.

   “Right now, our sixth graders are involved in many of our athletic programs with older students, so the fact that we can bring them over here a year earlier to form relationships is going to be beneficial for everyone,” said Mary Stelter, Parkview Jr./Sr. High School principal.

   Projected district enrollment for the 2021-22 school year is 443 students at the elementary school and 340 students at the junior high/high school. If sixth graders are moved the junior high/high school, enrollment will even out with 396 students at the elementary school and 387 students at the junior high/high school.

   Over each of the last five years, enrollment in Parkview has increased. During those years, enrollment is up by 10.2 percent total, said Superintendent Steve Lutzke.

   “Parkview Jr. High/High School has not seen the consistent enrollment increase that has occurred at Parkview Elementary School so there is room to add the sixth grade,” Lutzke said. “The current sixth, seventh and eighth-grade enrollment is smaller than normal so the teachers of these students have room in their teaching schedules to absorb the additional students.”

   Incorporating sixth grade students into the class schedule at the high school shouldn’t be a problem because junior high/high school students switch classrooms each period. The high school also has a much larger gymnasium and cafeteria as well as better-equipped science labs, he said.

   Stelter sees the benefits of the better-equipped science labs for the younger students as well.

   “We are increasing our focus on S.T.E.M. education, so it’s a positive thing to be able to give students an additional year of the experience using our state-of-the-art science labs,” she said. “We are very excited.”

   Lutzke said this educational model, which mirrors models in at least 16 other area districts according to a survey sent out by Parkview School District, will maximize the use of staff, resources and facilities in a more equitable manner across the district and provide more opportunities for all students.

   This plan relaxes overcrowding in some areas of the elementary school, provides the opportunity to expand to full-day 4K, which is projected for the 2022-23 school year, and increases options to provide the daycare with a larger space, Lutzke said.

   “The move may be a stop-gap to a student capacity issue in light of anticipated enrollment growth at the elementary school,” he said. “This transition will afford the district a cushion of approximately five to six years to monitor enrollment.”

   Stelter said the district has been working hard to focus on building relationships over the past several years as well as provide better customer service. She is proud of the district’s efforts to work with families who want kids to have hybrid schedules.

   “Parents have strange schedules these days so we want to be as accommodating as possible,” she said. “We have done a lot of work with our curriculum over the last five years and we have plenty of rigorous, well-vetted options to offer students.”

Mary Hookham

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