Hopewell Board of Education slow down! Properly plan the fourth grade transition.

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Hopewell Board of Education slow down! Properly plan the fourth grade transition.

This petition made change with 615 supporters!

Bethany Pistorius started this petition to Hopewell Area School District Board of Education

We, the parents and residents of Hopewell Township, are committed to the education and emotional well being of our children. We have watched as the district administration and VEBH Architects have presented their proposals over the past 4-6 weeks. It is clear that the plan for an "upper elementary" school at the junior high campus has not been fully realized, as many major issues are left without solutions. We feel confident, that with time, solutions can be explored and put in place that would ease the minds of the parents of children who are currently in third grade as well as the parents of younger children in this district. We are requesting that you delay the vote to approve the action of transitioning fourth grade students to the junior high. We do not feel that enough of a plan has been set forth to make a proper decision on 2/24/20 which will impact the children of this district. We are requesting that this decision be pushed back two to four weeks. 

During this time we are also requesting that you consider delaying the transition of the fourth graders from the fall of 2020 to the fall of 2021. For the school year of 2020-2021 we are comfortable with specials such as music and art being on a "cart" which would free up one to two classroom spaces in each elementary school to be used for the excess students the district administration is predicting. We would also recommend the Head Start program to be moved temporarily to an open space in the junior high for this upcoming school year. This action will free up an additional classroom space at Kane Rd (Hopewell Elementary). 

During this additional year of planning, many major concerns/issues can be resolved. The following are a few examples of the concerns that could be addressed. The vacant bus driver positions can be staffed as well as bus replacements for the buses that were retired in the fall of 2019, if necessary. The fully staffed transportation department and fully stocked bus fleet could provide the bus separation of grades 4-6 and 7-8 in BOTH the AM and PM routes.The issue of children aged 9-13 being on the bus together continues to be one of the most troublesome concerns of parents. The full separation of the "upper elementary" and junior high students would put many of us at ease. Also during this time the "specials" classrooms location in the halls identified as fourth and fifth grade halls could be relocated. With this relocation there would be no need for any older student to enter those hallways and this security would better model the "school within a school" concept. This additional time will also allow for students in the Learning Supports program to properly prepare for this major transition. With the vote occurring as scheduled (2/24/20) students with an IEP/504 plan will not be able to begin transitional planning until late April/early May. This allows for far less transitional planning time than is needed for some students. 

Another major issue that needs to be addressed is the community involvement and feedback. Per many non-parent township residents the 2/5/20 community meeting was not publicized so that adequate community participation could occur.The transition of fourth grade to the junior high WILL impact the traffic around the campus and thus community members must be made aware.

Please know that we support the creation of an "upper elementary" but feel that at this time it is most certainly NOT a "school within a school" as presented by the district administration. For the sake of our children, the board must complete due diligence and only approve a plan that will allow for a successful, non-traumatic, transition of young students to the junior high.

 

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This petition made change with 615 supporters!