Maryville City School Board vote to reconfigures school grades

Beginning in the 2012-13 academic year, Maryville High School will consist of 10th through 12th grades, the middle school will have 8th and 9th grades and elementary schools will have kindergarten through third grades. What will happen at the intermediate schools has still not been decided.

The Maryville City School Board voted unanimously on Monday, Dec. 13, to reconfigure grades to alleviate overcrowding at the high school. What they didn’t decide on was how the intermediate schools - the current Maryville Intermediate School and the Coulter Grove Intermediate School under construction.

Schools director Stephanie Thompson said the system will be very deliberate about researching the best way to configure the intermediate schools. “We’ve got the staff with the knowledge about social and academic development and we’re going to spend a great deal of time on research to provide recommendations for you,” she said to the board members.

Thompson said the intermediate school configuration will be decided in late January or early February.

School board chair Christi Sayles said reconfiguring gives the school system more alternatives, and the school system will proceed diligently in determining how the intermediate schools are configured. “Our central office and leadership teams have been deliberate and thoughtful, and we have opportunities we didn’t have before,” she said.

Board member Doug Jenkins thanked everyone who shared their concerns about reconfiguring. Several shared concerns about intermediate schools where fourth grade students would be in the same building as seventh grade students. “We want you to know we’re going to be very intentional,” he said.

Board secretary Denny Garner said told those gathered in a classroom at Maryville Middle School to not be discouraged. “It’s a constant process and a constant evaluation, and we’re constantly researching,” he said of how the school system will handle the setting up the intermediate schools.

Board member Bethany Pope said she liked the 10-12 configuration at the high school but was also concerned about the intermediate schools. “I share your concerns about fourth through seventh grades together at the intermediate schools,” she said. “I understand, and I know a lot of hard work is being put into this.”

Charles West said hearing input from the parents was important. “I appreciate everyone of you putting in your 2-cents in and participating,” he said.

Chris Leguax, a Fort Craig School parent represents the schools Parental Advisory Board, and was at the school board meeting. He said the recently broached idea of closing Fort Craig to help cover the cost of opening Coulter Grove Intermediate School wasn’t prudent because keeping all the elementary schools open would prevent overcrowding for years go come. “If we lose an elementary school, it will put pressure back on teachers and students,” he said. “It’s really not a Fort Craig issue, it’s a system issue.”

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