Community begins weighing school configuration options at first capital project forum

Two more forums taking place in July

On Thursday evening, stakeholders from across the district kicked off the community discussion of school configuration scenarios at the first of three open capital project forums to be held this summer. RSVP to attend the July 25 and July 31 forums here.

School configuration refers to the potential to change to the grade levels served by district schools. The district is interested in learning if an approach other than the current configuration would be more effective and desired by the community. This conversation is primarily based on the district’s program vision, anticipated enrollment growth in the coming years, and the fact that district schools are reaching capacity with current enrollment.

The six scenario options discussed on Thursday are listed below. They are based on a consultant’s study for the district that was presented this past spring, following nearly a year of work with the Capital Project Community Advisory Committee. Approximately 30 community members, representing a cross-section of the district, attended the July 11 forum.

The first scenario represents the current configuration. Additional options may emerge from the community conversations.

The study identifies opportunities and challenges for each option, which vary by scenario and include items such as teaming at the intermediate level, class size equity, the time and location of middle school music rehearsals, deployment of staff, transitions for students and more. The scenario that is chosen will also have an impact on the number of new classrooms that need to be constructed to accommodate growing enrollments.

Upcoming Forums

Community members are encouraged to add their voice to this process at the two community forums later this month: Thursday, July 25, 6-8 p.m. in the Niskayuna High School Little Theater and Wednesday, July 31, 1-3 p.m. also in the Little Theater.

If you plan to attend the forums, please RSVP here.

The forums include an overview from Superintendent Cosimo Tangorrra, Jr., and facilitated small group discussions.

In order to encourage even more community participation, please also look for a Thoughtexchange specifically about the school configuration options in the near future.

Timeline

The purpose of this phase of engagement is to gain a better understanding of options that the community is interested in advancing for more in-depth study.

This will help the Board of Education narrow the options to two or three, which is expected by October 1. The conversations at the forums also focus more broadly on desired facilities improvements and learning environments for student.

‘The timeline calls for the Board to select one scenario – ether the current configuration or a change – during the 2019-20 school year. This will serve as the basis for a comprehensive facilities improvement proposal that will address existing infrastructure needs, growing enrollment and space for programming needs.

A community capital project vote is planned for December 2020.

School Configuration Scenario Options

While these scenarios do not include any changes to the 9-12 configuration of the high school, work at the high school as part of the capital project is likely.

Scenario A

  • Current Configuration (with PreK space @ each elementary school)
  • 5 Elementary PreK-5
  • 2 Middle Schools 6-8

Scenario B

  • Five PreK-4 Schools
  • Grades 5-6 at VA
  • Grades 7-8 at Iroquois
  • District Office @ Hillside Avenue Bus Garage

Scenario C

  • Five PreK-3 Schools
  • Grades 4-6 at VA
  • Grades 7-8 at Iroquois
  • District Office @ Hillside Avenue Bus Garage

Scenario D

  • Four K-4 Schools
  • Grades 5-6 at VA
  • Grades 7-8 at Iroquois
  • PreK Center & District Offices @ a Current Elementary School

Scenario E

  • Four K-3 Schools
  • Grades 4-6 at VA
  • Grades 7-8 at Iroquois
  • PreK Center & District Offices @ a Current Elementary School

Scenario F

  • Birchwood & Rosendale serve half of district for K-2 & 3-4
  • Hillside & Craig serve the other half for K-2 & 3-4
  • Grades 5-6 at VA
  • Grades 7-8 at Iroquois
  • PreK Center & District Offices @ Glencliff