DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Public Schools (DPS) announced a plan to address various issues throughout their district with a “new grade configuration” plan Wednesday. It means Pre-K – 8 schools will separate to become Pre-K -6 and middle schools for 7th and 8th graders.
It will address higher achievement, closing gaps, focus on attendance and suspension, according to a press release from the school district.
The plan will impact the 2016-2017 school year. It will remove “grades seven and eight from all but two PreK-8 buildings, creates three middle schools, and adds grades seven and eight to Meadowdale High School,” according to the DPS statement.
One Meadowdale parent was skeptical of the change.
“It’s just going to complicate things more for everybody,the parents and everything.,”Thomas Jones said. “It’s just going to make things a little bit- a lot worse than a lot better I believe.”
Dayton Education Association President David Romick understands parents’ fears, and those of teachers, about 100 who he says may be directly affected.
“It’s emotional. Teachers work in a building, develop relationship and become families and when those families are broken up for whatever reason, it’s a difficult thing for teacher. I’ve been through it twice so I know,” he said.
Edwin Joel Brown PreK-8 School, Wogaman 5-8 School and Wright Brothers PreK-8 School will become middle schools serving grades seven and eight, beginning August 2016. Meadowdale High School will become a 7-12 building, joining Belmont and Stivers, according to the press release.
Education advocates and DPS officials believe making a middle school setting solely focused on this age group will change the issues those students have faced, especially academically.
“Parents I think should be excited,” Romick said. “I understand the concerns of the parents of the three schools that are going to be middle schools, that they’re going to have to make some choices and sometimes those choices are tough. But in the long run, in the big picture of things, I think this reconfiguration is going to be the best thing for Dayton Public Schools and help us move the needle academically in this district.”
The change will create a district of PreK-6 elementary schools, with the exceptions of Charity Adams Early Girls Academy and Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy, which will continue to house grades seven and eight, and Louise Troy PK-4 and Wogaman 5-8.