School Configuration Information - Updated 11/1/2019

  • Updated 11/1/2019

    Dating back to the development of the school district's Strategic Plan in 2017, it has been clear to the community that the district would continue to face challenges with declining enrollment and reduced state funding for the foreseeable future.  In Fall 2018, in response to these challenges, a preliminary proposal to reconfigure the three elementary schools as grade-level schools was submitted for consideration; in response to a desire on the part of a significant number of community members to give the issue further study, that proposal was withdrawn, and the Pitman School Advisory Committee was formed in early 2019.  

    Over the course of several months, the PSAC - consisting of more than 20 members, including parents from all five schools, community members, local officials, and school district staff members - has examined a variety of school configuration models to determine which model fulfilled their mission to balance maximizing student achievement with the fiscal realities that the district is facing and will continue to face.

    On September 18, 2019, after more than seven months of work, the PSAC issued its recommendation to the Superintendent and the Board of Education.  The slide show from their presentation is linked below:

    PSAC Final Recommendation - 9/18/2019

    After a review of the PSAC recommendation and additional information, the Superintendent presented a formal recommendation to the Board of Education on October 9, 2019.  He has proposed a configuration similar to that recommended by the PSAC - a hybrid configuration in grades preK through 5th:

    • an Early Childhood Center for the entire district (grades preK through 1st) at Memorial School;
    • two neighborhood schools (with redrawn boundaries) at Walls and Kindle Schools (grades 2-5).

    The Superintendent also recommended a phase-in allowing current Kindergarten students to remain in their current school building for grade 1 during 2020-21.

    The Superintendent's detailed presentation is linked below:

    Superintendent's Recommendation - 10/9/2019 

     

    At a special meeting on October 29, 2019, the Board of Education unanimously approved the Superintendent's recommendation (as described above).  For 2020-21, current Kindergarten students will stay at their previous neighborhood school for grade 1; beginning in 2021-22, the Early Childhood Center at Memorial will then house all grade 1 students, in addition to pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten.  Walls and Kindle Schools become neighborhood schools for all other grades (revised boundary map).

    A transition committee, which will advise and assist district leaders in making the transition to a new school configuration as smooth as possible, is being formed.  Some details regarding the committee and its work are as follows:

    • The committee will be made up of 2-3 parent representatives from each of the elementary schools, as well as teachers and other staff members. The elementary principals will have a role in leading the committee; the Board of Education will also have a representative.  Committee members would ideally represent a variety of perspectives (different age of children/students, special education, etc.).
    • The committee will consider and advise us on a number of issues. Some examples include arrival and dismissal procedures; potential schedule changes; internal logisticsrelated to moving staff and resources; impact on special education servicesoutreach and communication to families; specific issues that concern particular student groupsfacilities concerns; and other topics.
    • The committee will also consult with other stakeholders with particular expertise: district facilities manager; district administration; counselors and nurses; local officials, including the police department; and staff in other school districts who have experienced similar changes.
    • I would envision that the committee (approximately 12-15 members) would meet regularly– perhaps on a monthly basis; there would also be an expectation that some additional subcommittee work between monthly meetings would be required at times. The transition team’s work will begin as soon as possible, and will likely extend through the end of this school year, with some work beyond that timeframe as the 2020-21 school year begins next fall.

    Additional details on the transition process can be reviewed below:

    Superintendent's Presentation on Transition to Reconfigured Elementary Schools - 10/29/2019

    If you have any questions or wish to provide feedback, please contact Dr. Patrick McAleer (Superintendent of Schools) at 589-2145 or pmcaleer@pitman.k12.nj.us.