Fifth grade likely to return to elementary school
by Eric Snyder --
Feb 01, 2006 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At last week's meeting, the Trigg County School Board officially granted Superintendent Tim McGinnis permission to further pursue the possibility of returning the fifth grade to the elementary school for next school year.

That there will be a move, however, seems to be a done deal. Remaining is mapping out the logistics of such a move, which includes mapping the rearrangement of up to 30 teachers and reorganizing the elementary school as effectively two schools under the same roof.

"Unless there's a major show-stopper, it's looking like a real possibility," McGinnis said of the prospects for returning the fifth grade to the elementary school.

The grade became part of the middle school in 1999.

In speaking recently with fifth-grade teachers before the board meeting, McGinnis said he assured them no decision had yet been made.

For testing purposes, Kentucky already considers fourth and fifth grades as being under the same roof. That is, even though the fifth grade is in Trigg County's middle school, their scores affect the elementary school's evaluations.

McGinnis said the arrangement, which he called an "added challenge" to success, complicates the issue of "accountability" because the grades are on separate textbook tracks, and answer to separate school councils and principals.

As a long-time middle school principal himself, McGinnis also said elementary school is a more "developmentally" appropriate environment for fifth graders.

However, he said the potential move said nothing about the competency of the fifth-grade teachers in the middle school, whom McGinnis said "have done a tremendous job of making it work."

The school board was receptive to the idea, as Marc Terrell and chairman Mike Davis both said they'd never liked the idea of fifth graders being in the middle school.

McGinnis said the Site Based Decision Making Councils for the middle and elementary schools have been supportive of the potential move.

Ann Taylor, elementary principal, summed up what seems to be the main issue of absorbing fifth grade back into the elementary school.

"I reiterate that the board provide the proper resources to make it successful," she said.

McGinnis acknowledged that resources would be a concern, and said he was entertaining the idea of organizing two schools within the elementary school.

"If we move forward, we have to design the program for success," he said.

A suggestion made at the meeting would have the school organized into upper and lower grades, with both having an individual guidance counselor and principal.

For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.
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