The Opening and Closing of School?

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As students prepare for the first day of school, you can feel the excitement and anticipation of another school year. We extend a special welcome to families new to Granby and to students who will be joining the school system for the first time.

As usual, the summer flew by! Summer activities included curriculum institutes for teachers; professional development for teachers and administrators; facility and technology enhancements; the launching of a new website; safety upgrades; the hiring of new teachers; successful summer programs for students (Drama, Camp Kearns and Traditional Summer School); and, Board of Education (BOE) strategic planning. The district also welcomed Mrs. Sue Henneberry as the new principal of Granby Memorial Middle School. In the fall, the school system is excited to expand the Integrated Pre-School, Spanish instruction to grades K-1, enrichment programming for grade 4, 1-to-1 computing for grades 11-12, and additional programming of the arts..

As we prepare to open school, the district is simultaneously considering the closing of one of its schools. By the time this article goes to press, the BOE will have received the administration’s findings and recommendations from The Declining Enrollment Study. District student enrollment peaked in 2007 at 2,324 students. Since then, the student population has steadily declined and it is projected to decline further, going from 1,958 students in 2014 to approximately 1,467 students in 2024, a net decline of 491 students or (25 percent) percent.

Two major school configuration options were presented for BOE consideration. Both options included closing the F.M. Kearns Primary School (the oldest school in the district), restructuring the intermediate schools and relocating all 6th grade classes to Granby Memorial Middle School. Option 1 creates a PK-2 Primary Elementary School at Kelly Lane and keeps Wells Road as an Intermediate School serving grades 3-5. Option 2 creates a PK-5 Elementary School at Kelly Lane and a K-5 Elementary School at Wells Road. The study also outlined any potential costs, savings, educational programming, and timelines associated with each option. The closing of a school has the potential to significantly reduce educational expenses to the town.

Parents will have multiple opportunities to consider the recommendations at upcoming Board of Education, Superintendent and Parent Teacher Organization meetings. Adoption and implementation of any recommendation will be completed in a thoughtful and timely manner, considering input from the community and allowing for smooth transitions to take place. The Declining Enrollment Study can be found on the district website.

Students enter the school doors for another year with new book bags and supplies but they will also enter with hopes and aspirations to be successful. As educators, we look forward to the privilege and responsibility of fueling that passion and keeping the flame alive on the first day and every day!  I encourage the community to stay involved and to help us navigate the potential changes that lie ahead, keep education a priority for the town and help make our mission become a reality for ALL of our students.