New schools for students

Published 6:19 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2005

By By RANDI K. PICKLEY / Niles Daily Star
Students who presently attend Oak Manor Elementary School will be settling in to new surroundings this next school year, according to Superintendent of Schools, Doug Law.
On Thursday of last week, a letter was sent home to parents in the Oak Manor subdivision advising them of proposed changes in the school district for the coming school year.
Two years ago, due to a significant drop in families from that area who have school age children, a multi-age program was instituted that focused on skills rather than grade level, Law said.
While the multi-age program worked well, enrollment issues have still plagued the Oak Manor district. "This smaller number of students means less staff," Law said.
Finding an answer to this problem resulted in the decision to convert Oak Manor Elementary to a sixth-grade center and assign students in the other grades to different elementary schools.
Converting Oak Manor to a sixth-grade center has a number of other benefits as well, Law said. "In addition to having a laptop computer for every student, we will be able to offer all of our sixth-grade students band, choir, Spanish, P.E. and art classes," Law said.
The lunch menu at the sixth-grade center will also be improved by combining the familiar elementary school lunch program with the expanded choices offered at the middle school. The change is intended to help students make the transition to the next level, Law said.
Last Monday every elementary level teacher attended staff meetings to explain and discuss the proposed changes.
Teachers throughout the school system have been given two weeks to consider the changes and have been asked to list the preference of the school in which they would like to teach. "We will try to match the teacher's preference with the needs of the buildings," Law said. Teachers should receive their assignments by late April.
Open houses will be held at Ballard, Howard, and Eastside Schools on May 19 to give students and parents an opportunity to meet the new principal and tour the new school. The transportation advisor will also be on hand to answer questions about bus runs.