By Kara Herlihy
New Washington West Supervisory Union Superintendent Brigid Scheffert discussed the idea of consolidating schools within the WWSU with members of the Harwood School Board at their January 6 meeting.
Scheffert told school board members that she has been working on several data-gathering initiatives since taking the job in September.
Scheffert asked, "What would it look like if the middle schools were to merge in Washington West? This would involve a project that would be pretty out of the box. There would clearly be some angst, but I think that's what you asked me to do when I came; ask these kinds of questions and say what if?... What would it look like if?..."
21ST CENTURY OPTIONS
"Always what's best for the students would come first; would it be cost effective, would it be more sustainable over time, would it create more 21st-century options," Scheffert continued.
Scheffert also addressed another structural redesign option -- the possibility of having a grade 7 through 10 structure instead of the current middle school system that would create more opportunities for 11th- and 12th-grade students to pursue higher education including internships and college level courses.
"One piece of transformation could be to have 11 and 12 almost take on a more junior college kind of model where dual enrollments were more prevalent, internships were more prevalent and distance learning opportunities were more prevalent," she said.
LOTS OF WAYS
Scheffert told school board members that there are lots of ways to look at opportunities to restructure or possibly redistrict to be considered and discussed.
School board members discussed what redistricting would look like if it were to happen within WWSU, including the potential to consolidate districts for more efficient transportation and creating a single school board for the supervisory union.
School board member Bob Holden said, "To get a lot of this stuff implemented is going to cost a lot of money. We want to make sure we have cost savings."
Harwood Principal Duane Pierson said that the biggest issue is transportation and suggested looking at the public bus system as a source of transit for students.
School board members also discussed the concern that consolidating districts and school boards would erode the personal connections to the schools.
The WWSU "State of the Union" newsletter is available at www.wwsuonline.org.