West Central School Board Considers Sixth Grade Transition Back to Elementary School

The West Central School Board members took time last week to discuss a possible move of the sixth grade from the Middle/High School back to the Elementary School.   

Superintendent Dan Zylstra said there are several points to be considered.

“A sixth grade self-contained class is a little more efficient personnel-wise than having it split up,” explained Zylstra.  “There’s something to be said for maintaining elementary kids up one more year, but you lose some of the diversity of course offering too.  Sixth graders are pretty big for Elementary School.  At some point they kind of size out of that.”

Elementary School Principal Mike Carlson said if the sixth grade were to return to the elementary school it would not impede on space. 

Middle/High School Principal Scott Ritchie said discipline is handled differently at his school where he believes sixth grade students aren’t ready for that environment. 

Ritchie commented, “What we expect out of our students there is a little different just because those guys are still small and still have a lot of energy bundled up inside of them.  At other times I don’t think it’s their fault, they’re just not ready for that environment of walking the hallways freely without somebody with them.”

He added that the lunch lines are very long which creates a problem.  Timing would accommodate the change at the Elementary School, if approved.

When it comes to staffing, Carlson added that he’s heard from at least one sixth grade teacher who wants to go back to the Elementary School while Ritchie said more teachers may want to stay at the Middle/High School. 

No decisions were made last week, but Zylstra indicated that the board may need to decide during their next meeting in February when the 2020-2021 school calendar is up for consideration. 

West Central School Board Discusses Purchase of New Doors for Safety Upgrade

The West Central School Board members considered the purchase of new doors at the elementary school.

Superintendent Dan Zylstra said the purchase is over $200,000, but a Secured School Safety grant award in the amount of $100,000 will be used toward the claim.

He stated in a previous meeting that the classroom doors are original to the building.  Some doors will be keyed differently to secure different parts of the building and the grant funds will also help with that cost.

The school board unanimously approved the requisition as presented. 

The board also unanimously approved the renewal of computer licenses as listed in the requisitions list. 

Culver Town Council Holds Work Session Concerning Traffic Ordinance Amendment Request

The Culver Town Council members held a public hearing last week concerning a request to amend a traffic ordinance that regulates traffic around the Culver Schools during student drop-off and pick-up times.

Max’s Playhouse owner Brandy Pohl purchased two residences at 454 North School Street and 450 North School Street for day care services.  The homes are on the east side of the street, opposite of the school corporation.  She asked the town council members to amend the traffic ordinance to allow two-way traffic on School Street during pick-up and drop-off times so it accommodates her clientele by not having students cross the street.  The current ordinance restricts cars from going north from Lake Shore Drive to College Avenue during the time periods of 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and from 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

If the ordinance is not amended then she said at the time that she would need to install a parking lot, to which the surrounding homeowners are opposed. 

In a work session held last week, Pohl updated the council to say that the Board of Zoning appeals denied a parking lot at 454 School Street, but said she could put in a driveway with three parking spots and a turn-around. 

Culver Community School Superintendent Karen Shuman commented that the number one priority is student safety and that one-way directional traffic is best in that area.  Culver Police Chief Wayne Bean also stressed safety and that one-way traffic on School Street during student drop-off and pick-up should stay intact. 

Pohl argued that elementary school students can simply be let off at the school while parents at her preschool have younger children that need to be taken into the facility and they need to give instructions to update the staff on the status of toddlers and infants.  

In the end, the option of making School Street a two-way street during school drop-off and pick-up was not feasible.  A driveway was found to be the best option, and an update will be provided in a future meeting.