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Update on PreK-2 Planning for 2015-2016

by Marc J. Smith, Principal – Forestdale School

Each day work is being done to prepare the Forestdale School and the District for the upcoming reconfiguration transition.  The work that happens occurs in a variety of formats which include: RPT subcommittee work, administrative meetings at the building and district level, CDT meetings with teacher representatives, phone conversations between myself and the principals from the schools that hosted our site visits, meetings with the entire PreK-2 staff, meetings/conversations with the Director of Facilities, meetings/conversations with the Custodial Supervisor; along with detail work and thinking that I do in my office, during my commute, in the shower and at night in bed before I am able to get some sleep.

I have often said to those close to me that this year I am the principal of two schools:  I am the principal of the Forestdale School this year, and the Forestdale School that will be next year.  Both of those schools deserve and receive my attention.  I recognize that in my effort to protect the integrity of this school year, perhaps I have not done enough to share the work that has been done in preparation for next year.

Below, please find a list of the things that have been completed as of today, things that are currently being worked on and some of the things to be worked on next.

Work that has been completed:

  • Collaborative Design Team established to collect feedback from teachers and include them in the decision making process (monthly meetings).
  • Reorganization Planning Team established to collect feedback from parents and faculty and include them in the decision making process (2 meetings a month). Subcommittees formed to focus on specific projects.
  • Development of a strategic plan which outlines the steps required by each member of the leadership team.
  • Developed a blog dedicated strictly to the faculty and providing them with information.
  • Used current enrollment numbers to forecast next year’s grade-level needs.
  • Established class size numbers and staff required to accomplish that goal. Grade 1average class size using this year’s K enrollment is 17.6.  Grade 2 average class size is 21.4.  Kindergarten is driven by registration; however we are committed to keeping that number between 18-20 students per class.
  • Created a communication tool to share a plethora of information with families and the community (Sandwich Learns Together).
  • Determined special education needs for programming, staffing and physical space needs within the school based upon the population of students in the three existing schools.
  • Created an inventory of current furniture.
  • Developed a “base model” classroom set up for each classroom and all other educational spaces, so as to start the year with a consistent classroom set of furniture and support efficiency in the moving of furniture this summer.
  • Master schedule developed. This still needs vetting with the staff and some tweaks will likely need to be made over the summer, but the bulk of the work is complete.
  • Construction/renovation needs have been determined, planned and estimates collected.
  • Budget developed to support goals and vision for the school for next year and beyond.
  • Building layout for next year is completed. All that is left is to assign teacher names to the rooms.

Work that is in progress:

  • The development of the process, procedures and forms we will use for class placement.
  • Kindergarten registration and entry process – A subcommittee of the RPT has been working diligently on this and are nearly completed in designing the kindergarten entry process from registration up and through the first day of school. Additionally, they will be connecting with the three PTA’s to begin discussions on how these organizations (that have been so supportive of this process in the past) can continue to support the process at Forestdale next year and beyond.
  • Transportation planning for next year.
  • Calendar planning for next year.
  • Determining which role each of our present staff members will have in the district next year.
  • A plan for principal/assistant principal visits to each K-6 school to introduce ourselves to K-1 students and begin building excitement for coming to Forestdale.
  • RPT subcommittee pursuing options for enhancing outdoor play space.
  • RPT subcommittee pursuing design options to “common areas” to create an early childhood feeling in the building.
  • Educational mission and purpose being developed with PK-2 faculty.

Work to come (this is not an exhaustive list; it includes the items to be worked on in the near future):

  • Determining a detailed plan for packing classrooms for the move in a way that does not disrupt learning this school year and develop a communication plan to share that with faculty.
  • Assign teachers to classrooms.
  • Plan “welcome” activities for students and families to support entry into the new Forestdale School Community (the RPT subcommittee working on kindergarten registration has this next on it’s to do list).
  • Construction – work will begin on areas that will not interfere with the learning going on this year.

I encourage anyone with questions about the work being done as we prepare for Forestdale PreK-2 in 2015-2016, to call me at Forestdale 508-477-6600 or email me at mjsmith@sandwich.k12.ma.us.

Most of the articles in the “Moving Forward” category of the Sandwich Learns Together are about the reorganization of the schools. Please browse that section of SLT for further updates and information about the Phase II 2015-2016 reorganization.