February 3, 2015

Work continues on time and on budget to transition to new grade spans (preK/K-5, 6-8, 9-12) beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. All project teams are working to plan a smooth transition. Highlights of recent work include:

Middle Level Design Team

  • Interdisciplinary teams will consist of two or more teachers and a group of students. 6th grade students will be assigned to teams of 70 to 140 students at their same grade level. 7th and 8th grade students will be assigned to a grade level or a 7/8 multiage team of approximately 140 students. Each team will have gifted education support, regular classes and support for special education and English Learner students.
  • 6th and 7th grade students will have math, language arts, science, social studies and advisory every day. Students will have access to two levels of math in 7th and 8th grade.
  • 6th and 7th grade electives will be the same for both grade levels for SY 2015-16 since both groups of incoming students will be new to middle school. These electives will continue for 6th grade students in 2016-17; new 7th grade electives will be developed for the 2016-17 school year.
  • For 2015-16, 6th and 7th grade students will take one trimester of art, family consumer science and technology education. PE/Health and music will meet every other day throughout the year. Students will be able to select which music option they prefer: band, choir, orchestra or a class called “making music.”
  • Beginning in 2015-16, 8th grade electives will be expanded to include World Language.
  • The two magnet schools will have some variability in course offerings to align with each school’s magnet theme. For example, North View Middle School will have a world language component for 6th and 7th grade students and Brooklyn Middle School will offer Project Lead the Way and Art on an A/B schedule in 7th grade instead of the Tech Ed/ Art/FACS trimesters.
  • The model for meeting the needs of high-achieving learners will blend cluster classrooms with rigorous curriculum and acceleration. In cluster classrooms, students in grades 6-8 are placed in core classes with a cluster (group) of students at their same instructional level. This model narrows the range of instruction, allowing teachers to differentiate more effectively than they can in a classroom with a wide range of student abilities. Beginning next year, 6th grade will have a more rigorous math program that will allow high achieving students to go deeper with their learning than before. In 7th and 8t grade math, students will have access to two options:  regular grade-level math and an accelerated (HP) option. As with current HP classes, teacher recommendations regarding placement will be taken into consideration.
  • The gifted education recommendation was made following research on best practices for the middle school model, consideration of teacher perspectives, and gathering feedback through a survey of randomly selected parents whose students participate in either elementary gifted education or junior high S+ classes.
  • By the end of February, the Middle Level Design Team will send a Guide to Middle School to all families with students in grades 5-7.

Logistics Project Team

  • The logistics project team is developing a process for getting the right things and the right people in the right place at the right time. Team members are planning for the procurement and delivery of furniture, fixtures and equipment, and the movement of staff and programs associated with the grade span change. They’re coordinating this work with the summer cleaning and programming schedule in buildings in order to minimize disruption.

High School Programming Team

  • Park Center Senior High will have a seven-period modified block schedule next year, replacing the traditional six-period schedule. Students will be able to take seven classes per trimester.
  • Each high school is holding registration conferences for students. Senior high counselors will be working with incoming 9th and 10th grade students to help them understand their options and complete the electronic registration process.

High School Facilities Team

  • Mild temperatures have allowed construction on the high school additions to move forward.
  • The assessment of the Maple Grove Senior High gym floor that was flooded due to a frozen pipe is complete and a plan for replacement is being developed.

Human Resources Staffing Team

  • The staffing process is underway and teachers are following the established teacher transfer process to change grade levels/schools.
  • High school principals are planning a teacher interview fair at each high school.

Technology Team

  • The team is assessing any needed adjustments to data systems, and planning for movement of iPads and other technology equipment between schools over the summer.