BEEKMANTOWN — Beekmantown Central School is taking a closer look at the possibility of reorganizing its elementary grades.
The district has revived a committee to explore the concept of housing all pre-kindergarten through second-grade classes at Cumberland Head Elementary and all third, fourth and fifth grades at Beekmantown Elementary.
Currently, the two schools each house prekindergarten through fifth grades, but for years, the School Board has wondered if it would be better for students if all sections of each grade level were in the same building.
A study of the concept was conducted about five years ago, according to Beekmantown Central Superintendent Dan Mannix. However, the results were never fully discussed despite the board’s continual intention to do so.
Then, about a year and a half ago, a Restructuring Committee was formed to look into the idea once again. The group, however, met just a couple of times before being pushed to the side while the district conducted its recent superintendent search.
“It’s been resurrected now,” BCS Board member Pauline Stone said of the committee, which met earlier this week for the first time since Mannix, who was hired in August, joined the district.
The purpose of the meeting, she noted, was to get the new superintendent up to speed on the issue and discuss how to move forward.
The next step, Mannix said, is to involve more people on the committee, examine the study and have discussions about whether reorganizing the elementary grades would be beneficial.
“One of goals is actually to make a determination this year on whether we’re continuing on with the discussions or we’re saying, ‘No this won’t work for Beekmantown,’” he said.
The intent is to recruit multiple perspectives to the committee, including administrators, board members, teachers and parents.
Other community input will be sought, as well, Mannix said.
It is anticipated the revamped group will hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, in the Middle/High School library.
The superintendent noted that the possible reorganization is not being looked at as a cost-saving measure.
“The discussion is going to be driven around the academic benefits,” he said.
“Of course, there’s pros and cons,” Stone added.
‘WHAT’S BEST FOR STUDENTS’
Housing all sections of grade levels in the same building, she noted, would make it easier for educators to teach in teams and deliver special education and other services.
It may also be beneficial, Stone continued, for all fifth-graders to attend Beekmantown Elementary, as it is on the same property as the Middle School, which may make it easier for those students to transition into sixth grade.
Cons of such a restructure, however, could include longer bus rides, she noted.
It would also be difficult for families in which one child attends Beekmantown Elementary and a younger sibling attends Cumberland Head Elementary, Stone added.
The committee, Mannix noted, will weigh the benefits with the disadvantages when determining whether to go forward with the reorganization or keep the schools as they are.
“It comes down to what’s best for the students,” Stone said.
Email Ashleigh Livingston:firstname.lastname@example.org