April 15, 2015

Planning for the move to new grade spans continues to advance on time and on budget. As earlier work winds down, emphasis is moving to logistics and school transition plans, ensuring that movement of staff and materials/equipment over the summer goes well and that students have smooth transitions to their new schools.

Each junior high offered information sessions for students and families to describe what students will experience in middle school. Secondary school transition plans incorporate feedback gathered from parents/guardians who highlighted the need for high quality orientations and student support (particularly in the area of relationships among middle school students) and clear, consistent communication from each school.

Registration for middle school and high school classes has been completed and staff will monitor implementation of the schedules next fall. Due to low student registration for 8th grade French at Maple Grove, Brooklyn and Osseo Middle Schools, the class will be offered only at North View Middle School. Spanish will be offered at all four middle schools.

High School Facilities

  • Construction of the additions at each high school is proceeding on time and according to plan.
  • The anticipated date of substantial completion for all construction is July 31, 2015.
  • Significant interior work was done over spring break, taking advantage of the opportunity to complete work without disrupting instruction and other operations.
  • The contractor’s insurer will replace the gyms at Maple Grove Senior High that sustained water damage.

Middle School Design Team

  • The Middle School Design Team is studying recommendations regarding middle level report cards and conferences.
  • Each school will be assigned a full-time teacher to support other teachers in providing differentiation and high levels of rigor in every classroom.
  • Current elementary teachers will help assign next year’s 6th and 7th graders to cluster classrooms, with the goal of ensuring that each student will be in a classroom with at least one other student he/she knows well.
  • Out-of-school-time (before and/or after-school) programming will be available at all four middle schools.
  • The Guide to Middle School was mailed in March to families of students currently enrolled in 5th, 6th and 7th grade, and translated versions are available.
  • Logistics Team

  • Each building has a designated logistics point person to handle logistics and communication at that site.
  • The logistics team has developed detailed packing and moving plans that will help ensure that materials and equipment arrive in the right location at the right time.
  • The purchase of furniture, fixtures and equipment for the high school construction projects is in progress.
  • The movement of people and materials is being coordinated with other activities at each site, such as summer programming and the summer cleaning schedule.

Human Resources Staffing Team

  • A phased-in teacher staffing process is being used to help ensure that positions are open to as many current teachers as possible across all levels throughout the transfer and hiring process.
  • The first round of interviews has been completed for high school and middle school; elementary is now underway.
  • Internal transfers for positions such as elementary music and physical education specialists, counselors, social workers, school psychologists and occupational therapists are complete.
  • The process for speech and language pathologists did not go according to plan so was restarted in early April.

Technology Team

An iPad collection plan is being developed with three goals in mind:

  1. Minimizing labor required by teachers and other school staff at the end of the school year;
  2. Ensuring inspection of each iPad; and
  3. Delivering on our promise that next fall, each student will receive the same iPad he or she used this year.

The technology team is also evaluating options for summer storage of iPads.

Final equipment lists for new classroom spaces have been completed and orders are ready to process.

March 6, 2015

Plans for the move to new grade spans continue to advance on time and on budget. As the current school year begins to wind down, teams are fine-tuning their work and focusing on logistical considerations that will help ensure a successful transition to the new PreK/K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grade configuration, beginning in the 2015-2016 school year.

Middle Level Design Team

A Guide to Middle School will be mailed the week of March 9 to parents/guardians of students currently in grades 5-7. Middle school principals are also working on schedules for next year (determining which classes are held at what time during the day). Next steps for the middle level design team include considering any necessary changes to middle level report cards.

About the middle school music program
The way the music program is delivered in the middle school model will be different from the way it’s delivered in a junior high model, which will have some implications in terms of instructional time (more time for 6th graders); band/orchestra instruction (full vs small groups); and staffing (fewer staff required to deliver the program at the middle level).

Here’s a look at how the current instruction in grades 6-8 compares to next year:

Grade 6 current Grade 6 next year
90 minutes of classroom music instruction per 6-day cycle (A/B schedule) 126 minutes of classroom music instruction per 6-day cycle (A/B schedule)
30 minutes of band/orchestra instruction per 5-day cycle 126 minutes of band/orchestra instruction per 6-day cycle
Grade 7 current Grade 7 next year
A/B schedule for music options (general music, band, choir, orchestra) No change
Separate instrument group instruction in band/orchestra Full band/orchestra instruction
Grade 8 current Grade 8 next year
Music elective every day No change

Fewer staff will be required for the middle school program compared to the current junior high program, primarily due to 6th graders having an A/B schedule vs 9th graders being on a daily schedule. Middle school music teachers will also serve more students than in the junior high model.

Staffing Team

The teacher transfer process is underway and will continue in three phases until all positions are filled.

Logistics Team

The logistics team is meeting with designated point people at every school to ensure that site-specific plans are in place for moving staff and materials/equipment.

Technology

The team is continuing to update databases, as needed, to reflect the new grade spans. They are also assessing storage space that will be needed for equipment during the transition, particularly over the summer.

High School Facilities

Construction (building additions and repurposing of space) is continuing on time and on budget.

Following each monthly meeting of a steering committee, the district website is updated with the most current information.

December 12, 2014

Planning for the transition to new grade spans continues to advance on time and on budget. Key areas of work include:

Middle Level Design

The Middle Level Design team continues its work to design all aspects of the middle level program.

Curriculum
The middle level design team is considering offerings that will be provided for exploratory/elective courses. Current 7th and 8th grade course offerings along with other options are being considered. A recommendation will be provided to administration in January 2015. 

A team of current S+ teachers, curriculum team members and administrators are considering how to address the unique needs of gifted and talented students in the middle school model. A recommendation will be made to administration by the end of January 2015.

Scheduling
The team has recommended that each middle school offer a modified eight-period day that allows for two exploratory/elective classes with flexibility within the six remaining periods to offer four core classes plus advisory and lunch.

Future Planning
Next steps for the Middle Level Design Team include providing course information for 2015-2016 registration, revising middle level report cards for 2015-16, developing the advisory curriculum and identifying additional materials that will be needed for grades 6-8.

High School Program

The High School Program team’s recommendations revolve around three key areas: curriculum, scheduling and transition activities.

Curriculum
Electives: 9th grade students can take any elective course for which they qualify.

Math: No changes to the high school mathematics sequence.

Social Studies: High schools will offer HP US History 9 and AP Human Geography.

Science: Maple Grove and Park Center will offer the traditional course sequence of Physical Science (gr 9); Biology (gr 10); Chemistry and/or Physics (gr 11-12). Osseo Senior High will offer a dual 9th grade track next year: Physical Science 9 and Physics 9. Either track will lead to Chemistry (gr 10), Biology (gr 11) and several possible electives (gr 12).

Scheduling
Park Center is considering a move to a 7-period modified block schedule; Maple Grove will maintain a 6-period modified block schedule; Osseo is exploring options for its daily schedule. All three high schools will offer four lunch periods.

Transition activities
High schools are planning open house activities for families and students (dates TBD). Counselors will meet with 8th and 9th graders at feeder junior high schools in January, in preparation for January/February registration conferences. Incoming 9th and 10th graders are being provided Activity Cards, providing the student and parents/guardians free admission to three winter sport activities at their respective high school.

Future planning
Following registration conferences, course tallies will be used to determine which courses will be offered at each high school.

High School Facilities

Kickoff preconstruction meetings are being held at each high school to prepare for construction of additions and interior alterations. Construction is expected to begin shortly. The early work at Park Center will focus on the building addition; early work at Maple Grove will focus on the gym; early work at Osseo will focus on the building addition on the northeast side.

Human Resources Staffing

A Labor Management Committee has agreed to a framework for teacher transfer for licensed teacher specialists (music, psychologists, counselors, etc.) The teacher transfer process has been designed to take place in tiers in order to promote the greatest possible range of transfer opportunities for teachers at all levels.

Technology

The Technology Project Team is continuing its work to identify data systems that will need to be adjusted to reflect the new grade spans.

Logistics

A logistics team has convened to plan for all aspects of the moves of people and materials that will take place over the summer.

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.

Updated November 21, 2014

Planning for the transition to new grade spans continues to advance on time and on budget. Key areas of work include:

Middle Level Design
A large team is working to design all aspects of the middle level program. The team has recommended that each middle school offer a modified eight-period day that allows for two exploratory/elective classes with flexibility within the six remaining periods to offer four core classes plus advisory and lunch. Members are now working to identify exploratory course offerings. The team is also examining how to meet the needs of gifted and talented students within the interdisciplinary team model, with a recommendation to be made by early January. Next steps for the Middle Level Design Team include preparing 2015-2016 registration materials and defining the daily advisory curriculum.

High School Program
The High School Program team has recommended that the high school (starting with 9th grade) science sequence remain as it is now. The team has also discussed and provided feedback on a proposed change to the Park Center Senior High schedule that would strengthen the International Baccalaureate Programme. The team is also preparing next year’s high school registration materials.

High School Facilities
The earthwork at each site should be completed by around Thanksgiving. Facilities staff members are holding weekly construction meetings and providing weekly construction updates to each high school. At the November 18 school board meeting, the board approved the bid package for the construction work, which will begin in December.

Human Resources Staffing
A Labor Management Committee has agreed to a framework for teacher transfer. An additional Labor Management Committee is meeting to discuss the transfer process for specialists (music, psychologists, counselors, etc.) The teacher transfer process has been designed to take place in tiers in order to promote the greatest possible range of transfer opportunities for teachers at all levels.

Technology
The Technology Project Team is continuing its work to identify data systems that will need to be adjusted to reflect the new grade spans.

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