Trustees Considering Elementary School Reconfiguration

An elementary reconfiguration plan is being considered in the Huntington School District.

November 16, 2016

Huntington School Board members are considering an elementary grade level building reconfiguration. Superintendent James W. Polansky presented an overview of a plan that would transition into place over a two year period and result in four buildings housing kindergarten through third grade and two intermediate schools enrolling grades 4-6.

The proposal was presented this past Monday evening during a public meeting in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium. Following the presentation, trustees asked dozens of questions before residents had their turn at the microphone.

The district’s primary school buildings currently enroll K-4 students. Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School features students in grades 3-6 in a program that includes an enhanced emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math. Woodhull Intermediate School houses grades 5-6.

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Huntington Superintendent
James W. Polansky. (Darin Reed photo.)

If the plan is adopted, the first year (2017/18) of the two year transition period toward full implementation will include:

• Next year’s third graders in primary schools only.
• Current third graders (next year’s fourth graders) may apply for Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School as in the past (priority will be given to students currently on the waiting list).
• Current fourth graders (next year’s fifth graders) may choose Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School with an attendance zone lottery as needed or they may choose Woodhull Intermediate School with an attendance zone lottery as needed.
• The dual language program will remain at Woodhull Intermediate School and the Bridge program will stay at Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School.
• Enrollment caps may exist at each school depending upon selections.
• Those who do not indicate a choice of schools will be assigned to one based on attendance zone and/or service availability.
• Current fifth graders (next year’s sixth graders) will move-up to the next grade level in their current schools.

Should the proposed reconfiguration plan be adopted, the 2018/19 school year will include:
• 2017/18 third graders (2018/19 fourth graders) may choose Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School with an attendance zone lottery as needed or they may choose Woodhull Intermediate School with an attendance zone lottery as needed.
• The dual language program will remain at Woodhull Intermediate School and the Bridge program will stay at Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School.
• Enrollment caps may exist at each school depending upon selections.
• Those who do not indicate a choice of schools will be assigned to one based on attendance zone and/or service availability.
• 2017/18 fourth and fifth graders (2018/19 fifth and sixth graders) will move-up to the next grade level in their current schools.

Mr. Polansky said that adoption of the plan would result in two district magnet schools for grades 4-6. He stressed while there will be differences to the educational programs offered in the two schools, there will also be many commonalities.

A magnet school is a “public school offering special instruction and programs not available elsewhere, designed to attract a more diverse student body from throughout a school district,” Mr. Polansky told trustees and an audience of district parents and faculty members attending the meeting.

If the reconfiguration plan is adopted, Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School’s focus will remain on inquiry-based learning through science, technology, engineering and mathematics. There will be a science and engineering block within the daily schedule.

Woodhull Intermediate School’s focus would be on world languages and history with the potential expansion of the FLEX language program expansion or an earlier start to a full-year language course.

Mr. Polansky will be attending individual elementary school PTA meetings over the next three weeks to review the presentation he made this past Monday night and field questions from parents.

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Woodhull Intermediate School in Huntington opened in January 1967. (Darin Reed photo.)
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Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School.
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