Just wanted to clear up any confusion...an attendee at Monday night's community meeting questioned the need for additional classrooms at Ridge School because, as she said, "there's one empty classroom there already." Actually, no, there is not. There are no empty classrooms at Ridge. I feel pretty confident saying there are no empty classrooms anywhere in the District (but I guess I'd have to confirm that.) On the contrary, at Ridge, there is a classroom divided into four smaller "rooms" with temporary partitions (in addition to OT/PT in the hallway/vestibule).
But this does remind me that there is still some confusion regarding the proposed school expansions. Most of what we propose to add are small group instruction spaces. These are rooms where specialized services like OT/PT and other special ed services can be provided to small groups of 6-8 students. Other proposed space includes convertible "kindergarten-style" classrooms. (Kindergarten-style rooms are rooms that can be divided if necessary, and that have bathroom facilities.) These are the most flexible types of rooms we could add -- they can be used by regular classes, or by self-contained special ed classes, or they can be divided and used for smaller group classes -- and will be a smart investment to accommodate future enrollment trends.
By adding this space at Ridge, Hawes and Willard, we will be able to open-up space at these schools as well as Travell, Somerville and Orchard. And we'll be able to give our special ed students a continuum of service in a single location. Students will enter a school in kindergarten, and stay there until 5th grade, just like their friends. This will be better than moving them around every year...better than forcing children in one neighborhood to attend other schools because their home school is too full...and better than spending lots of money to send students to other districts for special ed services.
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