by Superintendent Matt Grose
The school year has come to an end, but planning and looking to the future is an ongoing process. Recently, the School Board of ISD #317 has made some important decisions regarding the future of ISD #317 and the experience students, teachers, and our community has.
A demographic study completed this fall confirmed what we’ve been experiencing at King Elementary – increasing numbers at King, especially in our Kindergarten programs. While we have classes of 60-70 at Deer River High School, this past fall marked the 4th year in a row we welcomed a Kindergarten class in the mid to high 80s. This growth has placed a strain on the building and increased class sizes in our primary grades to uncomfortable levels, despite the temporary classrooms that were put in place so we could determine whether the growth was temporary or a trend.
An Educational Adequacy study was completed that examined both of the school buildings through the lenses of the Minnesota Department of Education’s guidelines and best practices and a number of issues were identified, particularly at King Elementary. After a number of staff and community input sessions, the School Board and administration have laid out a course of action.
Phase I: Will begin in late August or early September of 2015 with the construction of a 4-classroom Kindergarten addition. These classrooms, unlike the current Kindergarten rooms at King, will all be sized appropriately for Kindergarteners and will include some small breakout rooms for individual or small group work. Freed up Kindergarten rooms will be repurposed to take some of the space pressures off the building including special education classrooms, 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms, nurse’s office, staff workroom, art and science space, and music space. Phase 1 will be paid for with lease levy authority granted by the state to the school district to address space needs.
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