South Walton Fifth Graders Might Be Moved to Middle School

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Jdarg, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    no, but mixed ages works quite well in montessori school settings. that isn't what's proposed here though. It seems that the elementary schools are out of room in their buildings and are looking for a solution. But, I don't think we have all the facts.
     
  2. momof2kids

    momof2kids Beach Fanatic

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    From what I have heard (which isn't much) is that Bay is also bursting at the seams and the 5th graders will be from both Butler & Bay. I don't know how many kids are at Bay, but there are well over 800 (maybe closer to 900?). I think there are 8 third grade classrooms now, and with new classroom size rules something will need to be done.

    I'm confident that when my child reaches 5th grade if she is required to be with 6,7 & 8th graders that we will have raised her to be aware of her surroundings & make right choices.

    Even though I don't always agree with the decisions our Board makes I do think they are not going to make decisions that put children in harms way. The grades will be housed properly. The 5th graders now are kept separate from the kindergartners now and they are all in one building. (Yes - I know there is a big development difference from 5th to 8th grade).

    I also heard it rumored that Bay may close?? Can't remember where I heard that, but that's the rumor. There is no where for them to add on since it's a historic building, and they have no land left there to use... Yes - we need another Elementary school, and fast!
     
  3. organicmama

    organicmama Beach Fanatic

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    Not to step on friends' toes, but some of the people posting don't have children. It's not that you don't have your own experience from when you were a kid, but there is a difference in being a kid and being a parent regarding this. I can look back on my own childhood and honestly say that I am glad we had K-5 and 6-8. It also makes a difference as to whether the school system was set up that way. Walton County wasn't and then suddenly this is thrown at parents in the last quarter of our children's 4th grade year. It is upsetting to a lot of people.

    I understand that there are parents who don't see that this is a problem. That is perfectly fine because we all have different parenting styles and focus on different issues.

    Personally, I do have a large problem, as I was never planning on putting my children into middle school at ECMS.

    Since moving back to SoWal, I have been looking at other options, like the possibility of Seaside School or Oh Institute. One of the options we were looking at was virtual school, yet our two oldest do not qualify for the upcoming year because we didn't move back until Dec. 1st and there is a requirement to be enrolled in FL schools during Oct & Feb of the previous school year.
     
  4. Romeosmydog

    Romeosmydog Beach Fanatic

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    I hope that this is not history repeating itself. The last Walton County Superintendent and School Board moved 6th graders into the high school.

    A few differences: that move required 10 year olds to share buses, bathrooms, the library and lunchroom with 18 year olds...and if you were not in full support of the move you lost your job as an educator. The only people interested in separating the middle and high school were the teachers and parents of young middle schoolers. The Board said many times that South Walton would never fill the new high school... That a middle school in Santa Rosa Beach would never have enough students. With very little community support, the board approved the move and the firing of 11 of Walton County's (may I add finest) teachers. The first year, the middle schoolers had math class in a closet... So much for not filling the school.

    So let's just recap the last ten or so years...First, there was the option to go to Freeport, or Seaside. Then Butler added 7th grade...Then middle Schools had two South of the Bay options; go to Seaside, or go to Bay. Then they moved Bay into SWHS. Next they moved them back to Butler, added on a wing and called it ECM Now they built a school and want to move more than middle school in it. I have heard it said before: In Walton County, it's isn't just Middle School....it is "Stuck in the Middle" school.

    I hope parents of middle schoolers show up. Ask the important questions like "What are your LONG RANGE goals for middle school." I also hope that they not discourage those that don't have a dog in the fight. Without community support, you will not win.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  5. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    I love that we have several options in our little community, but they can be costly, especially if you have more than one child. Still, we have options!

    Thanks for letting us hear from all of you about concerns - it truly helps give our readers a better understanding of parental concerns - parents and non-parents!

    Its a learning process for the entire community - even for those who do not have children. Everyone needs to be aware of the public school issues, long range plans, etc in order to be well informed and supportive. Every public school and every private school serves and represents our community - I believe we should all educate ourselves and remain interested in the quality, delivery, safety, and overall excellence of all educational programs in our community.

    [​IMG]

    NWF Daily News
    Some Walton County fifth-graders might move to middle schools
    March 18, 2011 4:40 PM
    Katie Tammen
    Daily News

    WANT TO ATTEND?:
    Walton County Superintendent of Schools Carlene Anderson will meet with parents of Freeport Elementary School students at 6 p.m. Monday in the gym at Freeport Middle School. She will meet with parents of students at Bay and Butler elementaries at 6 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium at South Walton High School

    see NWFdaily news for article




     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  6. momof2kids

    momof2kids Beach Fanatic

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    Does anyone know if this is open to the public? Although my child will not be in 5th grade in the fall, I'd love to know what will happen over the next few years to alleviate this problem. Also - does anyone know if Seaside is willing/able/talking about to take siblings that will be in 5th grade?

    It's time to get to the Board meetings folks!
     
  7. bigskybeachmom

    bigskybeachmom Beach Lover

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    Yes, it is open to the public - the more the more informed!
     
  8. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    I don't have a dog in this fight but having raised six children, I do have an opinion.
    A lot of this could have been avoided or corrected if we would do away with mandated class size, the one size fits all, created by the vote of the people. The local school board is much better suited to handle class size but the stupidity of those versed in school matters has spoken.
     
  9. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    They attempted to change the class size amendment and it failed, so the people have spoken.
     
  10. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    And now, they are gettinfg exactly what they deserve, much to the detriment of the kids.
     
  11. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    How can smaller class sizes be bad for the kids?
     
  12. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    Some research study finding on Class Size

    Overall, the pattern of findings drawn from existing research leads to the following three conclusions:

    1. A consensus of research indicates that class size reduction in the early grades leads to higher student achievement. Researchers are more cautious about the question of the positive effects of class size reduction in 4th through 12th grades. The significant effects of class size reduction on student achievement appear when class size is reduced to a point somewhere between 15 and 20 students, and continue to increase as class size approaches the situation of a 1-to-1 tutorial.

    2. The research data from the relevant studies indicate that if class size is reduced from substantially more than 20 students per class to below 20 students, the related increase in student achievement moves the average student from the 50th percentile up to somewhere above the 60th percentile. For disadvantaged and minority students the effects are somewhat larger.

    3. Students, teachers, and parents all report positive effects from the impact of class size reductions on the quality of classroom activity.

    Archived: Reducing Class Size: What Do We Know?, Revised Full Text
     
  13. Douglas the Intrepid

    Douglas the Intrepid Beach Fanatic

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    Andy, I think you have too much faith in the schoolboard to keep classrooms at a reasonable size. I think external pressures and politics would have class size ballooning without regard to students sooner rather then later.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  14. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    not to mention good common sense - keeping class size within a reasonable limit, if you plan to effectively provide an education to children. far more important than testing, imo. "the test" is proving detrimental to schools and children, not limits on class size.

    I understand parents having concerns about the fifth grade class location. Is it about class size? or is it about expecting more consistency and stability from the local school system? Parents have the right and responsibility to expect excellence - but it takes commitment and involvement on the part of parents. I think our community is filled with great people who enjoy getting involved, have much to contribute, and make a real difference.. and that's a good thing. Parent involvement will help make our schools better in the long run.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  15. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    I undestand what you are saying and once again I am letting personal experiences get in the way of liberal studies and common sense. Now that I'm through being snarky, I was raised in a school system where class size was not even thought of, let alone mandatory. BTW, my town size at the time was approximately 60,000. To clarify, I do not think class size is an overall answer but I do believe that different school districts have class size problems that would be better solved at that level rather than the state level.
     
  16. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    most issues, for that matter, could be better resolved at the local level, depending on the needs of the community. but there is such a push to increase education standards for all children that we end up with a one size fits all, very standardized kind of system. testing being the foundation. limited class size is even more important when you must treat/teach all children the same (when all children are not the same).

    I would LOVE to see independent school boards, run by hired (not elected) leaders, providing excellence in leadership (some progressive cities actually do this). Studies are not "liberal" or political - they are critical and they help improve education delivery, and help us to continually move towards excellence. Unfortunately, politics (not research) get in the way of progress much of the time.

    I would say that research needs to be conducted (asap) on the effectiveness and outcomes of THE TEST! What does it really measure? Is the curriculum too narrow due to teaching a test? Are children learning or are they learning to take a test?
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  17. scooterbug44

    scooterbug44 SoWal Expert

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    I think having max class sizes is a great thing - especially considering how HUGE of a difference it makes.

    Individual communities can do what they want within those guidelines.

    Colleges do not have max class sizes, so they are free to set their own - and some of the results are appalling.
     
  18. sunspotbaby

    sunspotbaby SoWal Insider

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  19. GoodWitch58

    GoodWitch58 Beach Fanatic

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    I just returned from an national conference on education--across the board the consensus of the educators there (teachers, principles, college presidents, counsellors, advisors--all levels of education represented) were that we need to get the politicians and their tests out of the classrooms! Quite revealing to hear people from all over the country talk about the same problems.
    I, too, believe the local school officials need tohave more authority--but, even more than that, they need to listen to the teachers more and the teachers need to find their voices and speak up!
     
  20. scooterbug44

    scooterbug44 SoWal Expert

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    I was thinking about this earlier and questioning why if it was such a unanimous opinion no real action has been taken.

    Has it not been a higher priority than financial/time/benefit concessions?

    Seriously, one of the teachers' unions in Wisconsin had it written into the school district contract that the school district had to pay a much larger premium for health insurance from the company owned by the union.

    Others had domestic partner health insurance benefits (for unmarried straight people, not gays).

    How hard could diminishing the importance of standardizing tests be - IF it was a priority?

    My teachers called this "book smart, life dumb." They didn't accept it as an option and kept taking away our technology and trying to trick us.

    A classic was the pop quiz where the directions said "read all questions thoroughly before beginning". If you actually followed those directions you would find that the second to last question said "make sure you spelled your name correctly and turn in your paper."
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011

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