Keep the Primary Campus for K/1
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As most of you are now aware, W. T. Jackson administration is looking at possibly moving the 4th and 5th grade students to the primary school location on Northside instead of moving the Kindergarten and 1st graders back where they have been for the past 10 years. Most of the concerned parents in the Town Hall audience voiced strong reasons as to why this was not in the best interest of our students.
Here are just a few of the reasons discussed:
- Items at primary that are mini- sized for k/1 and not suitable for 4/5: the size of the gym, cafeteria, toilets, sinks, water fountains, library & playground. There are NO funds to make any changes. The playground specifically does not provide adequate space for older and larger children since current equipment is for K/1 sized kids. The PTA will have to raise money to pay for equipment changes, yet there will be no cost incurred if K/1 returns to primary. Funds were already raised to upgrade the main campus playground, which has not yet happened, so children will most likely not see any improvements at primary.
- Carpool on Northside is better suited for carpool lines and smaller students that need to be escorted to and from cars. Mt. Paran is still very difficult in the afternoons and causes problems for non-Jackson traffic. It is speculated that more K & 1st graders get picked up by parents, and the feeling is that traffic would flow better if these parents picked up at primary.
- Impacts to 5th grade specific activities like the play, the morning news, safety patrol, chorus, and afternoon carpool duties will be disrupted, and children will have to be transported by bus to/from the main campus to participate in such activities. The logistics of this seem costly, unreasonable and unnecessary.There are no funds for this additional bus transportation between campuses. There would be no need for buses if K/1 returns to primary campus.
- The “Go Team” for our Charter School Program will not be in place by the time this major move decision is made. These teachers, parents, and community leaders should have a voice in this decision. This decision is rumored to be made by March 2015.
- Atlanta Public School does not have SPLOST dollars available to assist with this relocation. Any additional expenses for moving older students to the primary campus will not be paid for by APS.
- It was presented that this proposed intermediate school will be the 21st century technology center for our older kids, yet no mention of specific technology and the cost of such technology was mentioned. Currently, the main campus is receiving upgrades to the promethean boards and has three classrooms dedicated to computers. Many parents argued, and Dr. Reich agreed, that 21st learning can take place at the current campus.
- It was also offered that 4th and 5th graders will have more responsibility and autonomy at the other location. Again, this could happen at the current campus. Other parents commented on why we need to push our kids to a middle school model in elementary school. Let them be kids!
- Comments were made that we could have a more continuous learning curve for our beginning readers if Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders were in the same campus at Main
- The same argument could be said for our 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders who need teachers and staff to communicate together on curriculum to make sure our kids have a consistent program. We have a great staff and fabulous teachers on both campuses. Parents voiced that the location and distribution of grades would not improve or change our success.
- There is no data to support the theory that 2nd graders lose any degree of learning or development when transitioning to a new campus as was proposed at the meeting.
- Most parents of rising K or 1st graders that attended were not in favor of the move either as they prefer the smaller environment provided at the primary campus for children entering the school environment for the first time.
Overall, there was not a solid reason given for the purposed move. Parents continued to ask what the rationale behind the proposed move was, where is the data supported the consideration, and the reasons “why” such a disruptive change was being suggested. No clear answer was given. There was no discussion of enhancing or changing the primary campus for older students, which would clearly need to happen in the next six months. No changes would have to be made or money spent if K-1 went back to Primary.
The next step for our administration is to work with APS to determine if additional upgrades will need to be done to the primary campus for our older kids. This information will be distributed to the community. Dr. Reich and her staff would provide an update on the “pros” and any additional expenses that would be incurred during this move. It was encouraged that our Jackson parents reach out to the APS Board Members and to Dr. Reich with their own opinions on this relocation decision.
Please show your support in keeping the W. T. Jackson Primary Campus a K - 1 campus by signing this petition.
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