HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Howland Local Schools is making major changes to the buildings that house its elementary students.
The district is changing from neighborhood schools to housing the students by grade. A community forum was held in Howland on Tuesday to discuss that reconfiguration.
Beginning next school year, Howland Springs Elementary School will hold kindergarten and first graders, Howland Glen Elementary School will be kindergarten and second graders, H.C. Mines Intermediate will be third and fourth grade students and North Road Intermediate will be comprised of fifth grade students.
The reconfiguration will allow Howland to add all-day kindergarten.
“It does pull resources together, makes sure that our students are being exposed to the exact same curriculum, exact same instruction and assessment that we’re accountable at the state level to,” said Superintendent Kevin Spicher.
That change means a student starting kindergarten next year — and graduating from Howland High School — would attend either six or seven schools. Howland resident Barbara Weltch said that isn’t a good idea for K-2 students.
“The children need the security of seeing the same teachers, not just being in a school for a year,” she said.
The changes will also require changing the busing plan. Among the options are putting middle and high school students on the same bus, which raised some concerns among community members in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting.
Also being considered is busing all elementary students — including kindergartners — to the high school, where they would change buses and then be transported to their respective schools.
Howland’s final busing plan is not yet in place.
After the meeting, parents were encouraged to submit suggestions, which will be considered in the final plan.
“We’ll have a very good, viable, feasible plan for the students that they feel very good about getting on their bus in the morning and making sure that they feel safe coming to school,” Spicher said.