Carlton to move sixth grade to high schoolStudents finishing fifth and sixth grade in Carlton will all step up to the high school building next fall. Carlton School Board members approved moving the sixth grade from the South Terrace building to the Carlton High School building at a regular meeting April 21. The move makes South Terrace a K-5 school and Carlton High School, 6-12.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Students finishing fifth and sixth grade in Carlton will all step up to the high school building next fall.
Carlton School Board members approved moving the sixth grade from the South Terrace building to the Carlton High School building at a regular meeting April 21. The move makes South Terrace a K-5 school and Carlton High School, 6-12.
The plan has been in the works for more than a year, according to Scott Hoch, Carlton Schools superintendent.
“We’re just trying to be fiscally responsible,” he said.
Enrollment at the elementary is up, mostly due to the addition of all-day kindergarten which has attracted numerous students since they began offering it several years ago, according to Hoch.
The result is a need for extra classrooms and those are scarce in the South Terrace building. Several classrooms have recently been reallocated, one for a computer lab and two-and-a-half were needed for a heating and venting project.
“With that, we’re out of space,” Hoch said.
Some ideas to keep sixth-graders on site included bringing in a portable unit, the cost of which had administrators balking.
“The first year you bring one in is very expensive,” Hoch said, estimating it to be over $70,000.
Since the high school has available space and teachers licensed to teach sixth grade, administrators felt that option would be best. The sixth-grade teacher currently at South Terrace will remain at the school, in a different teaching role, Hoch said.
At a community meeting April 15 to discuss the plan, about 75 parents turned out and most expressed their acceptance of the plan, Hoch said.
“We did have a vocal minority who wanted to keep the sixth-graders at South Terrace, but I believe our plan works to address the issues they were concerned with,” he said.
Those issues included keeping the younger students somewhat separated from the oldest students, he explained. The sixth-graders will have all their core classes including math, language arts and science, in the north wing of the school. When they leave that area for lunch, band and physical education, they will be escorted by teachers. Bells will ring at offset times as well, so all the students aren’t in the hallways at the same time.
On a positive note, the older students who serve as peer helpers will be that much closer and can assist the younger students more readily, Hoch said.
Students and parents will be offered an orientation program in May. Currently, 620 students attend Carlton schools in grades K-12.