Archive for Thursday, March 11, 2004

School Board moves forward with sixth-grade center

Basehor-Linwood officials say refitting school for students is not permanent solution for lack of space

March 11, 2004

For the first time since 2001, a building at 155th Street and Leavenworth Road will be used to house students full-time in the Basehor-Linwood School District.

On Monday, the Basehor-Linwood School Board unanimously approved preparing the building for all sixth-grade students in the district to attend classes by the fall of 2004.

The school currently houses offices for the Basehor-Linwood Virtual School, the school district's YouthFriends program, a pre-school class and the district's technology department. The building hasn't been used as a full-time school since students were moved from the building in 2001 to the newly completed Glenwood Ridge Elementary School on County Road 2.

School officials said using the building as an all-sixth-grade center would alleviate space constraints at the district's three elementary schools. However, the move only solves space problems on an interim basis.

"It's a temporary arrangement," Basehor-Linwood School District superintendent Jill Hackett said. "It's not a permanent, long-term solution."

The proposal has drawn support from educators and administrators, who have said the plan for an all sixth-grade center is developmentally and educationally appropriate.

"It allows sixth graders to be with their own age group and be with kids who share their own interests," Hackett said.

The sixth-grade center will fall under the umbrella of Basehor Elementary School and principal Terri Holmes, who will serve as administrator for the school. Most likely, the school will have a weekly schedule of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Five classrooms, which will need little more than desks, chairs and class supplies, will be used in the building. Remodeling the school won't be necessary and during an inspection this week the state fire marshal's office determined the building met safety requirements.

There are 118 students in the fifth-grade this year in Basehor-Linwood. The school district expects a 3 percent increase in the fall, possibly giving the sixth-grade center an enrollment of 122 students.

Refitting the school for students means the existing programs inside the building will relocate.

The charter school, an alternative education program in which students take classes online via e-mail, will relocate to Basehor-Linwood High School. The YouthFriends program will do the same.

The technology department will move to Basehor-Linwood Middle School.

To combat a lack of space and a possible influx of new students, the school district considered four options in dealing with the overcrowding. Those four options were:

  • Holding the status quo.
  • Switching classrooms currently used for fine arts into rooms for traditional classes.
  • Implementing the sixth-grade center.
  • Using mobile classrooms.

Of those options, the sixth-grade center received the most support. It was also the recommendation of the school district's advisory council, a board composed of 60 or so local residents advising school officials on education issues.

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