By Julie Johansen
Emery County School District, at its regular school board meeting held Wednesday, Mar. 2, made the decision that ninth grades from San Rafael and Canyon View Junior high schools will be moved to Emery High School beginning the 2017-2018 school year.
This change will also mean that sixth grades from Castle Dale, Cottonwood, Ferron, Cleveland and Huntington elementary schools will attend what will become San Rafael Middle School and Canyon View Middle School.
This decision came after reviewing a survey conducted earlier this year. Of the 478 respondents to the parent and community member survey, 81% favored the move of the ninth grade to the high school and only 19% were opposed. When responding to the question of moving the sixth grade to the middle schools, 58% favored the move and 42% wanted them left at the elementary level. This overwhelming affirmative vote resulted in the decision to move both the ninth and sixth grades.
Educators were also surveyed regarding the change and 94% of those completing the survey voted in the affirmative. Fifty-two percent were elementary educators, 23% were junior high educators and 25% were high school educators.
Some concerns of the reconfiguration of students to different schools are staffing problems, including teachers licenses and endorsements, facility needs, transportation, curriculum, scheduling and graduation requirements. This will mean that there will be approximately 150 more students at the high school. Administrator Ralph Worthen stated that some portable classrooms may be needed as there have been several instances of classrooms being re-purposed at the high school during the decline in enrollment over the past few years. These are the main reasons that it will take some time to make the transition as smooth as possible.
A couple of questions answered stated that since ninth graders are not counted in the number of students for 2A classification, Emery High’s status will not change. Also, it is not expected that there will be any elementary school closures as a result of this reconfiguration.