The Carbon County School District is considering academic changes to its schools.
Recently, the school board has proposed combining 6-8 grades in a middle school atmosphere. These students would attend school at either Mont Harmon or Helper Junior High. Ninth grade students would then move to Carbon High along with 10-12 grades. Elementary schools throughout the district would consist of Kindergarten-5 grades.
According to Carbon district superintendent Steve Carlsen, the proposal is based upon curriculum structure and a large number of students in the district’s elementary schools.
“Curriculum wise, it makes sense,” Carlsen explained. “Teacher certifications would be more flexible as well as education structure.”
Carlsen explained that many parents feel their children are not quite ready for the junior high setting when they leave elementary school in the sixth grade. By combining grades 6-8, he feels that the class structure and times would help students adjust accordingly before entering high school.
He also feels that ninth grade students will benefit from the change. Because credits needed for graduation begin to build in the ninth grade, students would have more class options and electives to chose from if high school classes were comprised of 9-12 grades.
Currently, Carbon elementary schools are operating at full capacity. The proposed change would help alleviate some of these numbers.
“As of today, Castle Heights has 555 students, Creekview has over 500 and Sally Mauro is full,” explained Carlsen. “There are approximately 330 first grade students district wide, yet there are only about 200 seniors at the high school. Student numbers rise significantly in the lower grades.”
By structuring grades differently, each school will house the appropriate amount of students.
Rumors have circulated throughout the area about Helper Junior High closing its doors. Carlsen admits to hearing these same rumors, but ensures that the Helper school will remain open.
“We did vote against purchasing land to build a new school, but that doesn’t mean we are shutting the doors,” he stated. “If we combine 6-8 grades, then we will have these students attend both Mont Harmon and Helper Junior High.”
School board members know that many parents have questions and concerns over the proposed changes. In order to address this, town hall meetings will be conducted throughout the district beginning Monday evening. Board members will be in attendance to answer questions and receive public input on the issue.
After receiving public input, board members will vote on the proposals. A time frame for the changes to take affect if voted upon, will be decided by the school board, but Carlsen hopes to implement the changes next school year beginning August 2014.
Town Hall Meetings
Nov. 18 – Carbon High at 5 p.m.
Nov. 18 – Helper Jr. High at 6 p.m.
Nov. 20 – Wellington Elementary at 6 p.m.
Nov. 20 – Castle Heights at 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 20 – Sally Mauro time to be announced.
Nov. 21 – Creekview at 5 p.m.
Nov. 26 – Bruin Point at 6 p.m.
Dec. – Mont Harmon at 5 p.m.