9th grade to high school? Lots of work ahead
The last scheduled meeting with parents at all the schools that would be affected by moving ninth graders into Carbon High from the junior highs and sixth graders from elementaries into junior highs took place on Wednesday night, and it was obvious from what the Carbon School District administration and board heard from those attending they have a lot of work to do.
Carbon District Superintendent Steve Carlsen introduced the concepts to the small audience that came to the Mont Harmon Junior High auditorium on a cold and blustery night, and then also provided his vision for the move if made, when he was asked by an audience member how he saw it.
"I like the concept," he said. "I grew up with it in the district where I went to school, and my kids were all raised in the same kind of concept in the other school districts where I worked."
Also hosting the meeting were School Board President Wayne Woodward and School Board Member Jeff Richens.
No parents or teachers who attended came outright and rejected the idea once presented, but many had questions and some real reservations about what might happen, particularly when it came to special needs students and some programs.
Some of those concerns centered around the following issues.
The change in schedules in the junior high might interfere with some science instruction time. Over the year with changed schedule students might lose more than two dozen days of instruction in that discipline.
Some teachers are concerned with how the moves might change faculty relationships. One teacher stated that when assignments get moved around, the district might be messing with faculties which have jelled together to form a cohesive unit for instruction.
One person in the audience said they were a taxpayer, and they wondered why if the district makes the move why they just shouldn't move all Helper Junior High students to Mont Harmon. Richens responded to this saying that there had been a number of meetings about the issue of Helper Junior High and that overwhelmingly across the district people were not for closing the school.
A couple of audience members were concerned about what would happen with special needs students. One felt that she had heard all the talk about other students but it didn't seem there was a plan for what would take place with the transition for those kinds of students, especially those that have multiple and severe disabilities.
Busing issues, particularly for those that come from East Carbon was another concern voiced. Some worried about 12-year-olds having to leave home so early to catch the bus to get to Mont Harmon and then them coming home late. Board members and the superintendent talked about providing proper transportation so students wouldn't be away from home more than they needed to be, or for extended hours.
The superintendent and the board members said that the issues brought up would need to be addressed by the administration and then considered by the board before a decision was made.
"These are all things we need to think about," said Woodward. "The board will need to see that all questions are answered and addressed by the administration before we make any kind of move to do this."
The decision to make the change would have to be made within the next month however, so the board will be voting it either at the December board meeting (Dec. 11) or in the January meeting (Jan. 8).
The board will be discussing the issue at their work meeting which begins at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The regular meeting where the can vote on issues will take place at 5 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend the meetings for information and to give input.