I am a parent of a third grader at Zoller, and the library para in the building. I am excited to have the sixth grade coming to Zoller, this is something I have been promoting since my son started in KN. A few things concern me.
1)The lack of instructional space for a third section of the 6th grade.
Space and class size have been a BIG problem on the North side of the city since the iplementation of the Magnet program years ago. Until this year, we have consistantly had over 500 students, with class sizes hovering around 25 give or take 2-3 students due to transiency. Mr. Ely, and Mr. Jansweski have worked to address this problem, by making Yates a neighborhood magnet school.
With the implementation of the new attendance zones this would have allowed the 6th grades to be phased in as the class sizes were reduced in the primary grades. We were assured 6th grade would be on the building by 2010. By abandoning the phased approach the school administration will have to create instuctional space for a 3rd section of 6th grade.
THERE IS NONE. I fear our computer lab (which has only 22 computers, currently the overflow uses computers in the reference room off the library)will be dismantled to make space for the 6th grade, as has happened in other buildings in the past. Zoller has consistantly had class sizes of over 22 students, and the incoming 6th grade will have class sizes of 26, 26, and 27, based on current 5th grade enrollment. Where will those five extra students go for computer lab? The Zoller staff has worked very hard on a robust technology program. I don't want to see it digress, if anything, it needs to expanded for the 6th grade. If the K-8 poposal goes through, I would urge the district to reconsider phasing in the sixth grade
2)The lack of materials in the library to support a sixth grade curriculum. I have concerns there won't be adequate funding for resources in the library.
3)With all the changes the district is proposing, The devil is in the details! Bus loops, feeder schools, staff moving, bells, bathrooms, playgrounds, getting exsisting resources in the right place(big desks where little desks were and little desks where big desks were) bus schedules, start times, dismissal times, class sizes, building capacity, etc...........And it is those details that need to be addressed before you start implementing changes. One day, one week, one month, of lost instuctional time is unacceptable. After all, those "details" are the ones our children will live with 7 hours a day, 183 days out of the year.
I would urge the administration to look at phasing in the 6th grade at Zoller, and using Oneida as an overflow for other elementary schools that have space issues. Does Lincoln have enough space to accomodate a 6th grade? I thank the district for this forum in which to express my views, and look forward to hearing other ideas.