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The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

Staff Profile
V Shutt
V Shutt
Staff Writer

The Feeling of One Carlisle: Carlisle School District to Change Schooling Configuration

A+new+era+dawns+for+Carlisle+Area+School+District+as+the+board+will+hear+proposals+for+a+reorganization+of+K-8+schools+at+their+meeting+on+October+12th%2C+2023.+
Jessica Bernhard
A new era dawns for Carlisle Area School District as the board will hear proposals for a reorganization of K-8 schools at their meeting on October 12th, 2023.

During the May 11, 2023 board meeting, Carlisle Superintendent Dr. Colleen Friend introduced 11 different total plans that show how a new school system structure and grade layout could look. The district is entertaining new plans in response to the foreseen influx of student enrollment, with the 1000+ housing units being built in the northern part of the district lines in the coming years.

All suggested models have seen mixed reviews by individuals of the community. Every one of the models involve closing at least one elementary building in the district, which would cause a shift of employment and include the redistricting.

The models are described as follows:

Model 0- Remodeling/Renovating current schools.

Model 1- Reconfigure our existing elementary schools so that two of them become schools for grades K-1, two become grades 2-3, and two become grades 4-5. Close one existing elementary school.

Model 2- Build a new Kindergarten Center for all students to attend, district-wide. Convert existing elementary schools to grades 1-5. Close one existing elementary school.

Model 3- Build a new Kindergarten Center for all students to attend, district-wide. Convert existing elementary schools to grades 1-5. Close two existing elementary schools.

Model 4- Build a new school for grades 4 & 5, and convert existing elementary schools to grades K-3. Close two existing elementary schools.

Model 5- Build a new school for grades 4 & 5. Convert one elementary to a grade 4 & 5 building, and convert existing elementary schools to grade K-3. Close two existing elementary schools.

Model 6- Build a new school for grades 7 & 8. Convert middle schools to grades 4-6, and convert existing elementary schools to grades K-3. Close two existing elementary schools.

Model 6a- Build a new school for grades 7 & 8. Convert middle school to grades 5-6, and convert existing elementary schools to grades K-4. Close one existing elementary school.

Model 7- Build a new school for grades 7 & 8, and add a 9th Grade Academy to the building. Convert middle schools to grades 4-6, and convert existing elementary schools to grades K-3. The high school would educate grades 10-12. Close two existing elementary schools.

Model 8- Build a new school for grades 5 & 6. Convert one elementary to a 5 & 6 building, and convert existing elementary schools to grades K-4. Convert middle schools to grades 7 & 8. Close one elementary school.

Model 9- Build a new school for grades 4-6. Convert one elementary to a 4-6 building, and convert existing elementary schools to grades K-3. Convert middle schools to grades 7 & 8. Close one or two elementary schools.

Over the summer months the district convened a diverse committee who met to discuss the different options/courses of action. Friend said the group is “comprised of parents, teachers, school counselors, support staff, and administrators. But then we also have grandparents, we have community members that do not have kids in school, we have representatives from the borough.”

During the meetings they were able to eliminate Model(s) 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6a, 7 and 8. Which leaves 2 remaining directions of action for the District to discuss and choose from. 

These 2 remaining models, Model 6 and Model 9, will be presented to the school board on October 12.

“We’re not going to ask the school board to make a decision that night, we’re just giving them all the information and they have heard from me all summer about the work that we’ve been doing. They haven’t heard from the committee members.” said Friend. 

“We have 95 people on our committee… I’m really pleased that we have so many people… Everything along the way has been based on what they determined are our priorities and criteria.”

This commission has been considering a few main points while removing certain models.

They would “build a new school and close an existing school, renovate/expand existing schools, reconfigure our grade alignments for grades K-8”. 

They are also “consider[ing] how to maximize the placement of our staff in our schools so that every student has the same access to excellent programs; To more efficiently support our growing number of students who receive special services”.

“Challenges across the board are making sure that we have ample staffing, that we have transportation that can work, and also looking at the programs that we offer and making sure they’re the right programs for our kids,” expressed Friend.

“I don’t anticipate that this is going to do anything with reducing the number of staff we need, I actually think that we’re going to need more staff,” Friend reassured.

With these selected models there is potential for adding more support services to the 7th and 8th grade building(s), such as autism support or the thunder program, an alternative education program utilized by River Rock Academy.

“One of the other criteria and priorities is really to get that feeling of one Carlisle, not 7 different elementary schools,” stated Friend.

Any change that they choose to move forward with will not occur suddenly. It will be a process of several years to execute the changes they will make. Including building switches and different grade configuration than what Carlisle currently uses, with elementary schools being K-5 middle schools 6-8.

After approval, “The next 9-12 months are planning […] it’s just planning for the program. […] The reality is the earliest that this could come into play would be 25-26 school year and the likelihood is not going to be that smooth.” 

The Board and Friend assure that this transition will be “made thoughtfully and with great care” for both students and staff. The priority with this switch is to give parents and students a lot of time to come to terms with it and to ask questions. Community forums will be available at the end of October for questions to be asked and opinions to be expressed.

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Jillian Grimes
Jillian Grimes, News Editor
Jillian is a Senior at Carlisle High School, this is her fourth year being a member of the Periscope staff. She is very excited to return to the staff for her last year. She likes to listen to music, read psychological thrillers and hike with family. She has always had a love for journalism and photography and she is excited to publish and share her work with others in the community this year. Jillian is thrilled to see what this year has to offer and work alongside the new staff members for her final year!
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