West Central School Board Continues Discussions Concerning Sixth Grade Move

More research will be conducted into a potential move of the sixth grade from the West Central Middle/High School back to the Elementary School.

Superintendent Dan Zylstra said he’s held discussions with some parents and the Teacher’s Association members and the talks have been mainly positive.

“There were questions about what it was going to look like, how the resources would be allocated, but in general it was a pretty positive discussion,” stated Zylstra.  “I think it’s something we can probably put a few more pieces together in the next month and look to move forward on.”

Middle/High School Principal Scott Ritchie said moving the sixth grade back to the Elementary School would help streamline things at the middle school level in terms of pairing teachers with subjects.  He also believes it would be better for sixth grade students in terms of disciplinary issues.

Ritchie noted, “Our discipline gets a little harsher a little more quicker at the High School and at the Middle School.  Our focus is a little different, plus we change periods all the time.  There’s a lot more hallway time by yourself.  I think those kids could use some of that time just to mature a little more. It may save some of the write-up situations we see our sixth graders falling into.”

Zylstra said it’s an additional grade at the elementary school for the principal and counselor to work with and while it’s not a new concept there, an instructional aide would move down with those students to help.  Some administrative tasks could be distributed between the schools, but Zylstra said he wants to make the transition and workloads fair. 

“The ultimate outcome is making sure that we’re using the resources that we have to serve kids in the best way possible,” added Zylstra.

Zylstra commented that he will work on gathering more information for a possible board decision in March.