Park City School District parents who attended the master planning panel discussion on Tuesday, asked questions that included wanting to know how hard it is on kids to transition from one school to another. They asked what best practices should be used to determine school and class size and what kind of data is available. The panel also fielded questions about traffic impacts on school and grade changes.
Park City School District Superintendent Jill Gildea responded to a question from Katie Wright who asked how difficult it is for kids to transition from school to school. Gildea said her experience has included working in primary and secondary education.
“I don’t ever prefer a two-year grade span school. You’re, kind of, just getting to know them and they’re onto the next place. I’ve been in a 5-6 setting, a 6-8 middle school setting. I have not experienced a 6-7, 8-9 separated like they have it here and I will tell you there are transitions and there are some transition glitches.”
After consultants presented the four (A,B,C,D) grade alignment options at the start of the public forum on Tuesday, Angela Moschetta asked for clarification on how each was scored.
“And so, for a little while there it seemed like there were maybe two options to consider. And, the consultants seemed to favor A and B. So, I just want to talk a little bit about, or would like you to talk a little bit about the weighted scoring that was presented and then option D which has been revealed the steering committee overwhelmingly favors.”
Steering committee spokesperson, JoAnne Funseth said the grade alignment task force considered developmental factors, minimizing the number of school transitions and grade size to weight and score the options.
"Those criteria, you can kind of see where the scoring goes because transitions is pretty significant as well as cohort size. And as far as the steering committee having a strong preference, I don't know that we’re there yet, that the steering committee has released a preference for any specific option at this point.”
Sean Berkenson asked how data drives grade alignment decisions. He said he feels left out of the process.
“I’ve got a six-month old and a two-and-a-half-year- old. My first comment is I’m a little disappointed. This is the first time I've seen this survey and our whole cohort of kids that are not yet in school, I don't believe are engaged and I feel like these are some big decisions and I feel like we were part of this community they're probably going to be impacted the most and should be engaged.”
School Board President Andrew Caplan said there’s data on every grade alignment scenario, but he said there are other important considerations as well.
“If we do our job and keep the best teachers here, our kids are going to be fine in any of these setups. And these values that that we own as a community that are going to help drive these decisions as opposed to simply just data.”
City Council member, Nann Worrell responded to Amanda Hoganson’s question about the affects grade alignment changes would have on traffic and congestion. She said an environmental study is currently underway by UDOT on SR 248 and Kearns Boulevard. The assessments will help direct transportation decisions.