K-6 Transition Q&A
(Updated October 2018)
We have scheduled community meetings for each of our 5 elementary schools to discuss K-6 boundary changes. Each meeting will start at 6 p.m.
10/23 - Edison Elementary
10/30 - Jefferson Lincoln
11/6 - Fords Prairie
11/13 - Oakview
11/20 - Washington
We know that there are many questions in our community about the 2019-2020 K-6 transition that will happen in our elementary schools. There are also many different versions of stories about the transition, the plan, and how it will be implemented. Some questions don't have answers yet, but for those that do, here is an FAQ about the process.
Who is on the Boundary Change Committee?
Don Blair - Chairman
Nicki Luna - Jefferson Lincoln, ELL Parents
Tatiana Cruz - Washington, ELL Parents
Wendy Penion - Edison, Washington Parent
Lori Fast - CSD Board Memb er
Krista Arellanes - Edison Parent
Marta Martin - Oakview Parent
Jenika Stinkeoway - Fords Praire Parent
Chelsea Kane - Washington Parent
David Roberts - Fords Prairie Principal
Andy Justice - Edison Principal
Kelli DeMonte - Jefferson Lincoln Principal
Shannon Ricards - Oakview Principal
Danielle Vekich - Washington Principal
Kira Dunkan - Oakview Facillitator
David Eacker - Director of State and Federal Programs
Ayla Abbott - Director of Technology
Gibb Kingsley - Director of Transportation
Dale Dunham - Assitant Director of Transportation
Mark Davalos - Superintendent
Ed Petersen - Public Relations Coordinator
Sherri Norman - Administrative Assistant
Brittany Kindell - Secretary
When will the District change to K-6 neighborhood elementary schools?
All five of our elementary schools will open as K-6 schools at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
Was this grade configuration change communicated to us?
Yes. We included information that we would be transitioning our schools to K-6 configurations in all of our construction bond communications. Furthermore, it was communicated at numerous community meetings during the bond campaign and since that this reconfiguration would require a change of school boundaries. Some of these materials were mailed to every home in Centralia. Other communications were sent home with students or emailed. Additionally, a separate community group, Citizens for Centralia Schools, mailed postcards to most Centralia homes during the campaign that included the K-6 information.
What are the benefits of K-6 elementary schools?
Our committee looked at many studies on school grade level configurations before settling on the K-6 recommendation. Here are some of the benefits we hope we will see.
- Elimination of school transition. Research shows that transitioning to new schools at key times in a child's educational development can actually have a negative effect on outcomes. We believe that by eliminating the school transition between 3rd and 4th grades, we eliminate a key negative factor.
- Improved Parental Engagement. High levels of parental engagement in schools is a positive influence in a child's educational outcomes. The highest performing schools also have the highest level of parental engagement. After all, the number one influence in a child's life is their parents. By remaining with the same school for K-6, we hope that engagement levels at our schools will improve as teachers, parents, students, and the neighborhoods grow together.
- Development of Neighborhood Centers. A key part of our bond proposal was that our elementary schools would become true neighborhood centers of education and activity.
- Disciplinary Considerations - Research supports that sixth grade students in K-6 schools receive fewer disciplinary referrals vs. sixth grade students in middle schools.
- Strengthened "Neighborhood" Schools - A primary consideration of our committee was to develop schools that are true neighborhood centers. This has positive implications beyond just the school environment for students.
What research was used in order to arrive at the decision to switch to K-6 schools?
https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED493391.pdf - An analysis by the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University.
http://files.cityofportsmouth.com/school/centraloffice/eefc/4e.pdf - Elementary School Grade Span Configuration: New Evidence on Student Achievement, Achievement Equity, and Cost Efficiency (City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire).
http://files.cityofportsmouth.com/school/centraloffice/eefc/4a.pdf - Study on behaviors and transitions (City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire).
https://www.districtadministration.com/article/grade-span-configurations - "... a study of 700 rural Louisiana schools showed that sixth and seventh graders in K-6, K-7 and K-12 schools "performed significantly higher on the state achievement test than students in 6-8 and 7-9 schools." A study with 163 Maine schools found 8th-grade achievement on the state test was higher in K-8, K-9 and 3-8 schools than it was in middle school and junior high configurations."
What do other local school districts do at their elementary schools?
K-6 or K-5 are the most common elementary configurations in our local area.
- Olympia, Tumwater, North Thurston: K-5
- Pe Ell: K-12 (with one K-6 wing isolated)
- Adna: K-5 at Adna Elementary. Middle school is 6-8 in the same building as their high school.
- Napavine: K-6
- Onalaska: K-5
- Boistfort: K-8
- Evaline: K-6
- Chehalis: K-1, 2-3, 4-5 (will be switching to K-2, 3-5)
- Morton: K-6
- Winlock: K-6
- Toledo: K-6
- White Pass: K-6
- Longview: K-5
- Kelso: K-5
- Tenino: K-2, 3-5
- Yelm: K-6
- Tacoma Public Schools: K-5 and K-6
- Shelton: K-5
- Raymond: K-6
- Aberdeen: K-6
- Montesano: K-6
- Lake Washington: K-5 and K-6
- Ocean Beach: K-5
- Vancouver Public Schools: Mostly K-5
- Battleground: K-4 (with 5-8 at middle school together)
- Rainier: K-6
- Kalama: K-5
- Mossyrock: K-6
Will kids have to switch schools?
Some will. We are just beginning the work to determine what the boundaries for each K-6 school will be.
When will I know if my kids will have to switch schools?
It is our goal to have a boundary change plan ready to present to our Board of Directors by December 2018. We hope to begin communicating the changes to parents and staff by January 2019. We want to be sure to leave enough time between the boundary adoption and the start of the school year so that families can make appropriate plans.
What will the process of planning the transition look like?
We are beginning to develop our transition plans now. Currently, district and school administrators are working together to determine staffing, equipment, and other allocations. A task force will be formed in September to begin the work of reviewing proposed school boundary areas. This task force will be made up of parents, administrators, and CSD staff. It will be the task force’s goal to develop boundary proposals for the Board of Directors to adopt by early December 2018.
Will we get to see the proposed boundary changes before the Board of Directors approves them?
Yes, absolutely. The public and our staff will be given an opportunity to review the proposed boundary changes and to offer public comments to our Board of Directors prior to adoption.
What about bus routes?
Bus routes will likely change as well. We are not looking at changing the level of transportation service we currently provide.
Will staff be moving to new schools as well?
Some will. We are working with our teachers and leaders to determine staffing needs for each school. Once those needs are determined, we will know how staff resources will need to be allocated.
How will students be assigned to K-6 schools?
Students will be assigned to schools based on which boundary they reside in. Our goal is to create boundaries that preserve cultural, socioeconomic and geographical equity throughout the district.
Will we still be able to “choice” our students into other schools?
As always, placement of a student at a school other than their assigned neighborhood school will be based on a number of factors, including whether there is capacity at the requested school.
Why are we making this change?
Numerous studies show that students in K-6 model schools tend to have higher levels of overall achievement. Additionally, parent and community engagement is better when families are with the same school longer. These factors benefit students immensely. Research also shows that numerous transitions to new schools are not beneficial to student achievement. This move eliminates one school transition at a vital time in a student’s educational career. K-6 is the most common configuration for elementary schools in the United States.
Who made the decision to switch to K-6 model schools?
The recommendation was made by our Facilities Master Planning Committee in 2016 as a part of their overall bond recommendation. This committee consisted of more than 45 community members, staff, parents, and leaders. Ultimately, the Board of Directors holds the responsibility for determining grade level configurations.
What about playground equipment and other items donated by PTOs and other commnity organizations?
We are extremely grateful for the generous donations made to our schools over the years by our community. We will work to ensure that donated property is properly allocated in order to provide the most benefit to our students. Some may stay at the school it was originally gifted to, other items may move in our re-allocation of resources.
Are some schools still going to have portable classrooms?
Yes, Oakview, Washington, and possibly Edison will still have portable classrooms in use for the time being. However, when the new Jefferson Lincoln and Fords Prairie Schools open, the use of portables at elementary schools across the district will be reduced.
How will younger students be separated from older students?
Each of our existing schools has individual wings that are perfect for the separation of primary and intermediate age students. In the new schools, K-3 will be housed on the ground floor, while 4-6 will be located in the second floor.
Recesses and lunch times will be planned so that students are only on playgrounds with age-appropriate classmates.
Once this change is made, will my child stay at the same K-6 school provided we don’t move out of its boundary?
Most likely since our enrollment projections look flat for the next 5-10 years. It is possible that boundaries will change again in the future based on population changes.
Why are we only building two new elementary schools instead of replacing or remodeling all of them?
There is no question that all of our schools have significant facilities needs. The community overwhelmingly identified Jefferson Lincoln, Fords Prairie, and CHS as the primary schools first needing replacement. School districts are limited in their bond capacity. We can only hold bond debt that is up to a certain percentage of total community property value. In order to replace or remodel all 5 elementary schools, we would have exceeded that debt limit, had a much more expensive bond, and still have been left with an outdated high school.
The remaining three elementary schools’ facilities needs are an issue that will need to be addressed by Centralia’s voters in the future.