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Update: Forestdale Reconfiguration Planning Team Meeting – 12/4/14

by Stephanie Hall, RPT member/parent

The Forestdale Reconfiguration Planning team members rolled up our sleeves to get to work during our meeting last week!  We started our evening listening to some updates from Principal Marc Smith, as he works to create preliminary plans to organize the new pK-2 Forestdale campus. These plans includes details on all facets of daily life at the school:

  • How grade levels should be organized throughout the building (in clusters, locations to be determined after student and staffing numbers are finalized)
  • Incoming students: no plans for creation of pods for incoming students –  instead,  students would always ‘travel with friends’ to their new grade levels.
  • No plan for building-wide looping with teachers due to classroom and building configuration. Individual teachers may loop, however,  depending on needs.
  • Plans for travel to specials, lunch and recess within each grade level
  • Construction needs (retrofitting bathrooms, enclosing balconies and stair railings, creating new entrance for Discovery Center and School for Early Learning)
  • Plans to assist teachers and staff with moving plans including equipment furniture and supply assessments.

In addition, Mr. Smith discussed the mock fire drill that was done with the current Kindergarteners and staff from the second floor with the assistance of the Sandwich Fire Department. Results from this drill have offered valuable information on the need for Kindergarten classrooms to remain on the first level.

Finally, Mr. Smith discussed the incorporation of the Discovery Center and the School for Early Learning into the Forestdale community and building configuration. These groups may not be at Forestdale on September 8th; instead, they will likely move sometime in the fall 2015.

Subcommittee Assignments
The group established subcommittees in five areas. Subcommittees and their members follow, along with a brief summary of their work:

Kindergarten Registration (including all students new to the district or school):
Lynn Phinney, Karin Wilkins, Kerri Ames, Chris Flannigan, Lauren Melillo

Update: As Kindergarten registration is quickly approaching, there is an urgent need for information to the general public about the District’s proposed plans for Kindergarten in 2015. These plans will not be finalized until the Town Budget is approved however, Mr. Smith is drafting a communication on the District’s goals for Kindergarten for distribution including details on the plans for no-cost, full day class. Additionally, this Subcommittee discussed a streamlined registration paperwork process and series of events designed for a welcoming first step into Sandwich Schools.

Play Space:
Barb Noble, Denise Glover, Jim Dever
Updates for this Subcommittee will be provided at the 12/18/14 meeting.

Communications:
Stephanie Hall, Linell Grundman
We made recommendations on the Kindergarten proposed plan communication to public. In addition, we discussed how important two-way communication is between the District, parents and community members and ways the RPT members can assist in that process.

Culture, Beautification and Atmosphere
Erin Orcutt, Lara Rest, Kathy Jacobsen, Lauren Melillo
This subcommittee discussed the physical appearance in their time together including the importance of keeping current murals but also including “artifacts” from other schools for appropriate grade levels. This includes some things that should move to the STEM Academy from each school to be with the 7th and 8th grades. This group also discussed some ideas regarding a redesign of the Main Office configuration to make it more user-friendly to the pK-2 grade level students.

Transitions:
Kathy Jacobsen, Gretchen Phillips
The subcommittee members split their time between the Transition and CB&A group (above). It was noted that while there are time sensitive transition tasks like plans for redesigning and moving the Libraries, there were transitions further in the future that could be a focus later in our process.

Meeting Conclusion:
Mr. Smith and the RPT members would like to invite ideas, suggestions and comments as we move along in our Reconfiguration planning. A list of RPT member names can be found at Reorganization Planning Team Members

RPT meetings at both schools are open to all and the next meeting for Forestdale is scheduled for Thursday, December 18th from 5:30-7:30 in the Library.