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Moving Grade Five

CUMBERLAND – The County's School Board approved moving the Cumberland Elementary School's fifth grade to the new Middle School Complex on Monday evening. The Cumberland County Public Schools reconfiguration will take effect at the beginning of the new academic school year in August 2012.

Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin first proposed the reconfiguration of grade levels for the elementary school in September at the regular School Board meeting and a letter also went out to parents explaining the need for the change.

The reconfiguration means the elementary school will consist of pre-kindergarten through fourth grade next year and the middle school will house grades five through eight.

Dr. Griffin's recommendation to the School Board was based on safety, a smaller environment at the elementary school, and cost savings, she said during the original proposal.

The elementary school currently houses approximately 740 students and the reconfiguration would decrease the student population to around 625 students.

“This would enable the elementary school staff to focus more on the early grades,” she noted in the letter that was sent home to parents.

In response to safety, by moving the fifth grade to the middle school it allows for the second grade to be located in the elementary school building, which would eliminate the need for the mobile units.

“All students throughout Cumberland County Public Schools would be in a safe and secure school building,” she also stated in the letter.

At the middle school next year, the fifth and sixth grade students will be located on the lower level of the middle school and the seventh and eighth grade students will be located on the upper floor of the school.

Since making the proposal, the school division held a parent information meeting in October and sought input from the public during the School Board's November meeting.

“I do believe this to be in the best interest of our students,” advised Dr. Griffin in the letter that went home. “It is hard to see vacant rooms at the (middle school) complex when elementary students are being educated in mobile units that are deteriorating.”

On Monday evening, the Board unanimously approved the reconfiguration of grade levels.

“I think it's a more safe and secure environment for all of the students within the school division,” said Dr. Griffin when she first proposed the reconfiguration to the Board in September. “We would also sell the mobile units for a one-time cost and we would be saving in utilities long-term. The mobile units are also starting to deteriorate. They've been out there almost since the school was built in 1996…They have some age on them now and they are starting to deteriorate and when it rains it rains right through the middle of the mobile units…”