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Could major changes be on horizon for NPSD?

One of the topics the School Board examined at their Tuesday night work session was the possibility of moving 9th grade to the high school and 6th grade to the middle schools.

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Could major changes be on horizon for NPSD?

NPSB: The Board discussed facility needs and the benefits of moving 9th grade to the high school and 6th grade to the middle schools.

NPSB: The Board discussed facility needs and the benefits of moving 9th grade to the high school and 6th grade to the middle schools.

Sameera Rachakonda

NPSB: The Board discussed facility needs and the benefits of moving 9th grade to the high school and 6th grade to the middle schools.

Sameera Rachakonda

Sameera Rachakonda

NPSB: The Board discussed facility needs and the benefits of moving 9th grade to the high school and 6th grade to the middle schools.

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TOWAMENCIN-  “Should we continue to have ninth grade in the middle schools?” questioned North Penn School District Superintendent Dr. Curt Dietrich to the School Board. At their monthly work session meeting, the Board addressed building and facility needs throughout the district, specifically for the high school and Knapp Elementary. In addition, they examined the possibility of realigning the grade levels in the district to move ninth grade to the high school.

Before the meeting, the Board toured North Penn High School in small groups to observe the outdated systems throughout the building.

“We saw corroded pipes, we saw electrical systems that you can no longer get replacements for. It’s a miracle in some senses that we haven’t had a catastrophe in this building in the sense that a pipe burst or a system went down,” remarked Board Director Christian Fusco.

We as a community need to realize that we are now decades beyond the lifespan of most of the systems within this building…This is something the community needs to put its money where its mouth is and finally get this work done”

— Board Director Jonathan Kassa

“We as a community need to realize that we are now decades beyond the lifespan of most of the systems within this building. This is a bill that this community needs to understand has to be paid. It can’t be put off any longer. We’re here as a bipartisan, apolitical Board. This is not a political decision. This is something the community needs to put its money where its mouth is and finally get this work done,” Board Director Jonathan Kassa declared.

Following the discussion of the tour, Dietrich opened up the possibility of exploring the option of moving ninth grade to the high school campus, and consequently moving 6th grade to the middle schools. While far from being ready to recommend for action, the Board discussed the benefits of moving ninth grade to the high school and how it would affect the renovation plans moving forward, especially when looking at modulars throughout the district.

“I think this could possibly solve, not all of our infrastructure problems, but a lot of them with one fell swoop by having the ninth grade come to this campus and getting rid of the modulars,” commented Board President Tina Stoll.

Reasons in favor of moving ninth grade up that the Board noted included continuity and the current disconnect between ninth graders and the high school, the developmental issue of having sixth graders in the same building as kindergartners, the easier access to high school athletics, and the easier access to the tech school. The possibility of realigning the grade levels does lead to new options for renovations throughout the district.

“I think it would provide an opportunity for more continuity and definitely more access for ninth graders. There are some exciting things happening at the high school that I think our ninth graders would benefit from,” Board Director Elisha Gee mentioned.

As a district, we have a clear mission. That mission is child centered. Every argument that has been put forward tonight has been centered on the student. For ninth graders, let’s look at what their needs are, and if it is better for them to be [at the high school], then let’s do it”

— Board Director Juliane Ramić

“As a district, we have a clear mission. That mission is child centered. Every argument that has been put forward tonight has been centered on the student. For ninth graders, let’s look at what their needs are, and if it is better for them to be [at the high school], then let’s do it,” said Board Director Juliane Ramić.

After the discussion of realigning the grade levels, Architect David Schrader reviewed the construction options for Knapp Elementary School. When modulars are removed, Knapp Elementary is functioning at 120% capacity compared to the recommended 90-95% capacity for elementary schools. Conceptual budgets range from $28-30 million to $40-44 million for new construction.

The Board of School Directors will meet for an action meeting at 7:30 PM on Thursday, January 17th at their regular meeting location, the Educational Services Center.

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