Huron Valley Schools held a public forum last week to inform residents that if the Board of Education opts for a fifth-through-eighth-grade middle school configuration, Brooks Elementary School would be offered up as the sacrificial lamb.
The school board is still deliberating on the other option of possibly closing either Muir or Highland middle schools and changing the dynamic from four to three middle schools. Board trustees already voted to reject the possibility of two fifth-through-sixth-grade buildings along with two seventh-through-eighth-grade buildings.
While the board still hasn’t determined which route to go, the forum was another means of keeping the public in the loop, according to district officials.
“We told them that if the board approves closing an elementary it will be Brooks,” said Director of Community Relations and Fund Development Janet Roberts. “We’ve spent a lot of time on the 6/8 (middle school) model and wanted to share with the community what a 5/8 model would like in depth.”
Over 300 people attended last week’s forum with the majority speaking out in favor of the sixth-through-eighth-grade model as opposed to the fifth-through-eighth-grade model.
“Naturally there were also parents from Brooks urging us not to close it,” Roberts said.
The district’s administration is eager for the board to reach a decision given all that must be facilitated.
“One of the aspects is implementation, whether it’s in 2011/12 or possibly the next year — so the option and year needs to be answered,” Roberts said.
Each scenario would mete out a teaming approach the district is moving toward as part of a 21st century educational effort where students work closely with four teachers who collaborate together.
As an advocate for the teaming approach, but strongly opposed to the fifth-through-eighth-grade model, Creating Curriculum Driven Facilities Committee Member and parent Jeffrey Long spearheaded a petition drive against closing an elementary school, stating that although it may avert the closing of a middle school, the fifth-through-eighth-grade model offers no educational advantages for fifth-graders.
“This reduces their opportunities for involvement in school activities, and may actually lead to them being excluded from certain programs that they are normally involved in at the elementary buildings,” he said.
He also noted that the fifth-through-eighth-grade model could encumber the teaming approach.