Monday, October 30, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

Intermediate Programming
Frequently Asked Questions
The following questions regarding the new intermediate campus are commonly asked by parents and staff.  We will use this Frequently Asked Questions format to address questions and direct our community to our corporation website, which will continue to document the progression of our current projects from the Feasibility Study through implementation of the Feasibility Study Action Plan. 

Question:  When is the new intermediate campus going to be completed and ready for grades 5, 6, 7, and 8?

Answer:  The timeline for planning and implementation is located in the LPCSC Intermediate Campus: Staffing, Programming, and Planning Details dated 10-12-2017.  This document is posted on our website.  The document outlines that the new intermediate campus will be ready for the beginning of the 2019/2020 school year.

Question:  Where can I find the most current information about the new intermediate schools?

Answer:  Documentation regarding our planning efforts and Feasibility Study are posted on the main page of the corporation website.  We will continue to update the planning documents as progress is made.

Question:  Why wasn’t the current Boston remodeled?

Answer:  Documented during the Feasibility Study was the fact that the Boston building was not suitable for remodel, considering the limitations of the site with regard to safety, programming, and potential to provide a student experience similar to what our Kesling students and staff experience.

Question:  Why wasn’t a new Boston built?

Answer:  The initial action plan called for a new Boston to be built.  This is documented in the Feasibility Study Action Plan.  Details regarding this decision are addressed on the corporation website in a December 2016 newsletter and another communication entitled La Porte Community School Corporation Building Project Update October 10, 2016.  These documents reflect the fact that a search for an acceptable building location for a new Boston Middle School ended without being able to secure a safe and viable location within the city limits.  At that point, we revisited the Feasibility Study to look at the documented corporation needs and identified alternatives to building a new Boston Middle School.
Question:  What are the student and family benefits to the new 5/6 and 7/8 grade configuration model?

Answer:  Student benefits have been a focus for the Feasibility Study work.  The goal of the study was to gather facts about student programming and identify what we needed to do in order to best prepare our students for success in their future college and career paths.  The result of the study led us to form planning teams to outline what our student experiences need to look like in grades Pre-K-12 in the areas of  High Ability, Visual, Fine, and Performing Arts, K-12 Athletics, and K-12 College and Career Readiness.  These teams are meeting throughout this year to produce recommendations.

Regarding parent benefits, we will be studying and looking to build upon the benefits of the current model of 6, 7, and 8.  The current model of 6, 7, and 8 was established in 1984 and has changed very little over the years.  One of the concepts we are exploring is to have parent resource centers in each of the two intermediate schools.  We also identified important safety matters that we wanted to take into account for all schools, including traffic flow, bus drop-off, class size, and restricting the 5th and 6th graders from having contact with the upper grades during the school day.  The new format will also benefit parents in that we will be in a position to guarantee all of our students a consistent curriculum and experiences vs. the current situation in which students in the same grade across town may have different curriculum, instructional strategies, and other opportunities.

Question:  The intermediate school will house a number of students equal to the high school. Four grade levels that include every student in the corporation will be at the site.  Will access to facilities be equal to the high school and/or greater than they are now?  Facilities in mind are the gym, lunchroom, library, etc.

Answer:  The new Kesling Intermediate Campus will house grades 5, 6, 7 and 8.  As outlined in the planning and vision document on the corporation website, grades 5 and 6 will occupy what is the current Kesling Middle school building for academic programming.  The 7th and 8th grade academic programming will be delivered in the newly constructed portion of the campus.  Some areas of the building will be shared by all grades.  These areas include the cafeteria, library, and music areas.  Although these areas will be shared, the vision is that only like grade levels will occupy these areas at any one time.
The access to parents and all who enter the campus will be improved from the current situation at Kesling Middle School.  On the corporation website, you will find drawings of the phases for construction.  The initial phases are now underway to create a drive that goes around the building, including the east side which currently has no access to cars or vehicles.  Additional parking spaces and separation of buses from parent drop-off and pick-up are planned into the project phases.  

Question:  Currently, 5th grade students have opportunities at each elementary school to participate in athletic teams.  There are no "cuts".  What is the plan for the future?

Answer:  The K-12 Athletic Programming Planning Team has been meeting over the past year to discuss the opportunities that students will experience in grades K-12.  We expect to identify what each grade will look like before the end of the 17/18 school year.  No update reports from the team, to date, reflects an interest in introducing cuts at any level, other than those levels that currently do so.  Updates of all committees will be posted on the website throughout this school year.

Question:  Currently, 6th, 7th and 8th grade students can participate in many extracurricular opportunities at Boston Middle School and Kesling Middle School.  What is the plan to ensure that these opportunities are not cut in half by combining the schools?  Examples include all sports, math club, jazz band, student council, show choir, etc.

Answer:  Student programming and experiences are the first priority in our planning efforts.  Teams are meeting to guarantee experiences for students in areas of K-12 High Ability, K-12 Visual, Fine and Performing Arts, K-12 College and Career Readiness, K-12 Athletics, STEM, and Technology.  Currently, our middle schools have activities at one building, but maybe not the other.  Currently, 5th graders are ready for more experiences but we are limited to the traditional elementary activities.  We anticipate an overall increase in the number of activities in which students will be able to participate.  Updates will be communicated as our teams finalize their recommendations.
Question:  How will current class sizes be maintained or shrunk?  Will there be double the number of classrooms at the intermediate school?

Answer:  Our architects have concluded the drawings and plans for the new intermediate campus based on data and dialogue from their work with the staff and administration.  Updates of their work can be found on the corporation website, where a blog spot is maintained by our architects, Schmidt Associates.  We are confident that between the new construction and the renovation of the current Kesling classrooms, we will have the necessary space to staff programs and classes at sizes that are either consistent with current student/teacher ratios or better.  

Question: Each middle school currently has two teachers of each subject per grade level.  Will there be four teachers of each subject under the new model or is there another plan to address class size?

Answer:  We have yet to determine these details.  The timeline posted on our website for planning the intermediate school curriculum and staffing indicates that the staffing decisions will be made toward the end of the 2017/2018 school year and that teachers will be assigned by the start of the 2018/2019 school year.  Our goal is to have the staff identified so we have the entire 2018/2019 school year for staff to work together on curriculum.

Question:  Will 5th grade classes have a "middle school" model or self-contained classes?

Answer:  This answer will be determined in the next few months according to our timeline.  A goal for the 5th grade experience is to prepare them for the next grade level.  Some elementary schools are currently ability grouping at grade 5 and students have a different teacher for English than math.  We expect something similar for grade 5 in the intermediate setting.  In other words, more than one teacher, but not as many as students will have in the next three grades.  Grade six students will likely be “pulled in” and have fewer teachers than they currently have in the middle school setting.  This logic comes from our study that showed 5th graders were ready for more of a middle school experience, but 6th graders were reportedly “not ready” for the middle school schedule of teachers and classes.

Question:  How will the busing schedule be affected?  Will students have longer bus rides?

Answer:  This is a multi-faceted question.  The 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who currently ride a bus to Boston Middle School would only have a short distance longer to ride on the bus.  Some students will be closer to school if they currently live between Boston and Kesling.  The 5th graders who ride the bus to elementary school will likely have a longer bus ride, similar to the change that our current 6th graders go through when they start 6th grade at one of the two middle schools. 

We have yet to establish start and end times for the school day.  Those details will be ironed out this school year when we break down the day and what classes/experiences need to fit into the student day.  It is probable that the 5th grade daily schedule will be different from grade 6.  Grades 7 and 8 will likely have the same daily schedule.  Currently, we are working on traffic flow patterns that will enable us to have the same start and end times for all four grades.  Updates will be forthcoming on our website.

LaPorte Intermediate Schools on Kesling Campus Construction Phasing

Intermediate School Vision, Staffing Logistics Facts

LPCSC Intermediate Campus:
Staffing, Programming, and Planning Details


This communication has been created to provide a path for the future planning and programming implementation process. It is not intended to be all inclusive and information will be updated and, in some cases, may change as we progress on our journey.


The overall vision for the “ Kesling Intermediate Campus” is that within one complex there will be two intermediate schools. One school will be the “La Porte 5/6 Intermediate School” and the other will be the “La Porte 7/8 Intermediate School.” LaPorte 5/6 academic programming will take place in the area of the campus that is now Kesling Middle School. The 7/8 academic programing will be delivered in a newly constructed academic wing.

Each school will have its own state identification number, its own name, ISTEP data, school grade, legal standards, administration, office staff, academic teaching staff, counselors, custodians, daily schedule, and intercom. “Slicers” will be each school’s mascot name. Efforts will be made to establish small learning communities in the school. 5th grade daily schedule and instruction will look differently than 6th grade programming. We anticipate that grades 7 and 8 student schedules and course choices will be similar. All of the grades will have teams of teachers working together for student instruction.


Upon entering the campus, students in grades 5/6 will enter through different doors than those students in 7/8. We are working with the architects and the City to finalize the traffic plan, which will confirm where parents will be able to drop-off and pick-up. We know that bus traffic, including drop-off and pick-up, will be separated from parent drop-off and pick-up.

Each school will have its own schedule of extracurricular activities, clubs, organizations, etc. Academic areas for each building will be off limits except to students from the grade level assigned to those areas. Related arts teaching staff will be shared between the two schools and school schedules will be created in which grades 5 and 6 are in the related arts areas at times when the 7/8 students are not. The plan, at this point, is to have four lunch periods. Each intermediate school will have two lunch periods for their students. Lunch periods for grades 5/6 will be at different times than lunch periods for grades 7/8. In between the academic wings, there will be related arts classrooms, the cafeteria, offices, and the media center. Students in all four grades will share these areas; however, daily schedules will be established with limited interaction in these areas between grade levels. Each school will have its own office entrance for parents and students from the outside. The offices will have shared spaces for staff in between the main offices for each school.


There is an implementation timeline below that will reflect the timelines for solidifying key elements of the intermediate programming, which include student curricular choices, student supports, student extracurricular experiences, and staffing. Strategic planning teams are answering key questions which will eventually lead to recommendations on these important elements.


It is important to note that our Feasibility Study identified areas in which we needed to address for student programming. High Ability, Career and College Readiness, STEM experiences, Visual Fine, and Performing Arts are areas that will be guaranteed to students in the new curriculum. We have set out to intentionally create intermediate programming which will not look exactly like the current experiences for students in grades 5-8.

In planning the new campus, our first priority is to focus on the “WHAT?”

1. What programming will best prepare our students for future college and career readiness?

2. What choices will students have that they did not have in our previous middle school settings?

3. What ways will we commit to our five continuous improvement domains of Safety, Professional Development, Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum, Goals and Feedback, and Parent and Community Engagement?

4. What do our planning teams recommend suggest for student experiences in grade 5, grade 6, grade 7, and grade 8:
  • Math
  • English
  • Science
  • Social studies
  • Reading
  • P.E
  • Music
  • FACS
  • Health & Wellness
  • STEM/Technology/Industrial Technology
  • College and Careers
  • Art
  • World Languages/Cultures
  • Extracurricular-sports, music, clubs, activities 

5. How do we differentiate instruction and choices for students according to their ability and interests?

Second on the priority list is to be able to explain “WHY?”

1. Why have we selected these experiences for students?

2. Why do we believe that these experiences will lead to student success in their future college and career challenges?

Third, we will need to identify “HOW?”

1. How will we deliver these experiences throughout the course of the day, a week, or a year?

2. How many staff members do we need to deliver these experiences?

Last, we will plan to address “WHO?”

1. Who will the staff be to teach the courses we have selected?

2. Who will the coaches and sponsors be to supervise the activities after school?

3. Who will the students be who are participating in the programs we are providing?

We understand the anxiety and interest of our staff to know their assignments. In reviewing the timeline for implementation, the goal is to have staff assignments completed by the start of the 2018/2019 school year. Some of this anxiety is due to the fact that it has been years since the current scheduling and programming were implemented. Today, student needs and trends in education are much different than when we planned the current staffing formats and programming in 1984. It was in 1984 that we moved from a Grade 7-9 configuration to the current programming format.

Regardless of the timing for placing staff in positions it is our intent to identify the positions needed and work with current staff to place them in roles that they prefer. In cases where all preferences can’t be met we will work out a procedure with the teacher association which is fair to all parties. With the new curricular areas there will be opportunities for current staff to move to teaching college and career readiness courses, stem courses, be instructional coaches, teach high ability, and world culture. We have no reason to believe that we will be reducing staff in order to make this transition, in fact we may end up having to add staff in order to provide the new experiences we will be working into the curriculum.


In addition to the attached staffing flow charts, the following summary outlines how staffing will look for each school.

La Porte 5/6 Intermediate School Staffing

  • One Principal
  • One Assistant Principal
  • 5th Grade Counselor
  • 6th Grade Counselor
  • Parent Resource Liaison/Social Worker
  • Four administrative support staff
  • Teams of teachers for each grade level 
  • Lead Custodian
  • Media Specialist/Assistant
  • Core Team
  • Crisis Team

La Porte 7/8 Intermediate School Staffing

  • One Principal
  • One 7th Grade Assistant Principal
  • One 8th Grade Assistant Principal 
  • 7th Grade Counselor
  • 8th Grade Counselor
  • Parent Resource Liaison/Social Worker
  • Four administrative support staff
  • Teams of teachers for each grade level 
  • Lead Custodian 
  • Media Specialist/Assistant
  • Core Team
  • Crisis Team

Schools on the Kesling Intermediate Campus will share the following staff:

  • 5-8 Instructional Coach 
  • 5-8 AD/Attendance Officer housed at 7/8 school
  • Media Center Specialists and Assistants
  • Parent Resource Coordinator 
  • Related Arts Staff - Music, Art, PE, Industrial Tech., FACS, Health,Careers
  • Readiness, Technology, Foreign Language, STEM, High Ability 
  • School Resource Officer
  • Nurse and Health Assistant
  • Campus Head Custodian
  • Special Education Supervisor, Speech Therapist, Psychologist, Diagnostician
  • Food Service Staff
  • Parent Resource Assistant 
  • Campus Head of Maintenance and Grounds

Administrative Positions

The 5-8 structure of the building presents administrators with an opportunity to demonstrate creativity, ownership, empowerment of staff, and leadership that has had little precedence in our district. The selection process and expectations for the leaders of the intermediate complex will be strategic and vision-minded in order to assure that those selected to lead are motivated have the capacity to lead others to places that they have not been. Regardless of the pre-planning and organization that is done prior to the intermediate schools opening, there will certainly be challenges and decisions to be made which were not foreseen. In typical work place situations, change is difficult for staff. The central office team is committed to being “a” resource for our administrators and staff. It will take a special leader to exhume confidence and ownership in the new configuration.

Timeline for Assigning Administrative and Teaching Staff

The goal for administrative staffing determinations is to have the principal for each intermediate school identified by December 31st of the 2017/2018 school year. The goal for teacher, professional, and support staffing is to have assignments made by the start of the 2018/2019 school year.

Continuous Improvement Domains

The LPCSC continuous improvement domains have been instrumental in providing vision and guidance for planning, to date. We will look toward the domains for guidance, as well as evaluation of continuous improvement. The following summary identifies how each domain has and will play a role in shaping the new intermediate campus. Currently, strategic planning teams are producing answers to key questions in each domain that will be used to shape our programming, practices, and improvement.


Safety of students and staff is a focus in the planning stages. Going back to the Feasibility Study, we were aware of safety concerns with the way that student pedestrians, buses, and cars entered and exited the campus. The design of the building and the traffic flow will reflect every effort to account for the safety of our students, staff, and visitors.

With a large number of students attending the campus, the building structure has been designed to make the schools smaller by designating areas for each grade level, thus creating schools within the school.

One liaison officer will be assigned to the campus and each school will have its own safety team to monitor safe school data and improvement. Building security cameras and emergency technology will be updated and current regarding available technology.

Along with the safety team, the campus will have a safety team which includes representatives from the school teams. Students will enter the building in specific locations for 5/6 and 7/8. Parent drop-off and pickup will be separated from the bus traffic. Emergency vehicles will be able to drive around the building as needed, so they could enter all doors from the outside. We expect to have camera systems for protection of students, and modern technology for guest entrance in the front of the buildings. Any emergency drills, lockdowns, or crisis responses that occur on campus will be directed and monitored by the campus safety team.

Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum

One of the benefits of the 5-8 configuration is the fact that each teacher in the corporation in grades 5-8 will be at the campus, and opportunities will be scheduled into the routines to enable grade level teachers to meet regularly for monitoring student progress, creating common curriculum maps, and analysis of student assessment data. An Instructional Coach will be assigned to the campus in order to facilitate these opportunities for staff. The curricular and extracurricular opportunities for students at the campus have been identified during the strategic planning process and are designed to meet the needs and interests of all students. The traditional “related arts” experiences for middle school students will be expanded in order to engage students in the use of technology and college and career readiness. We expect the element of choice to be introduced into the scheduling process so students and parents can make choices according to student needs and interests.

Professional Development

Selection of administration and staff a year in advance of our move-in date was intentional. The importance of professional development and staff bonding is pivotal to the success of both student and staff transition to the new configuration. In addition to the preparation for the start of the 2019/2020 school year, ongoing professional development time for teacher collaboration will be scheduled into the calendar and the school day, in order to assure that staff members are learning from each other, similarly monitoring student progress, and working within a curricular schedule that aligns with formative and statewide assessments. Continuous improvement in this domain will be demonstrated by documenting the meaningful opportunities that teachers are engaged in from one year to the next, as well as data analysis of the impact that training has had on our five domains of continuous improvement.

Parent/Community Engagement

Parents and the community will have a learning curve regarding the new configuration. True engagement of parents will be important in this new setting and we will need leaders and staff who are willing to look beyond the traditional conferences, newsletters, online grade checks, etc., in order to connect parents with the school. This will be more important than ever in order for us to accomplish our mission to make the school smaller by creating small learning communities within the campus. Community engagement has been documented through our feasibility study and strategic planning and will be a focus for the new intermediate campus. College and career readiness programming will provide school leaders and staff with opportunities to engage for guest speakers, organize field trips, and sponsor student activities. Continuous improvement in this domain will be evidenced through documentation of engaging opportunities for parents and businesses from one year to the next.

Goals and Feedback

Feedback will be embedded into processes in order to assure that teachers, students, parents, and community members have opportunities to share their thoughts and provide suggestions that can contribute to our continuous improvement efforts. Each domain will have goals for the year and feedback in the form of data will be analyzed in order to assess success and growth. This cycle of goals, interventions, and feedback within each domain is currently at the school and corporation level. The vision for the new intermediate campus is to model this same practice at the classroom and department level. In other words, teachers and departments will have interventions, strategies, and goals within the five domains that align with the continuous improvement focus of the school. Attached is a document which summarizes our five domains and the products we will use to monitor growth.

Current Boston Building

Once the details for the intermediate school are in place, we will begin to shift our focus onto the current Boston building. The Boston building will be a center for educational services that will house all of our departments along with a number of other programs some of which are in the early planning stages.

The following departments will be located in the Boston building:

  • Technology - currently at the Coke building
  • Maintenance - currently at the Coke building
  • Human Resources - currently at the ESC
  • Special Education - currently at La Porte High School
  • Payroll - currently at the ESC
  • Business Office - currently at the ESC
  • Administrative Offices - currently at the ESC
  • Childcare
The following student classes/programs will be held at the Boston Educational Services Center:

  • Virtual Learning Academy
  • UNITY program that is currently at St. Joseph’s School
  • Special Education preschool and kindergarten, which is currently at the high school.
  • Career and technical classes - currently not available at LPHS 
  • Homeschool Academy – does not currently exist
  • Parent Resource Center – does not currently exist
  • Childcare - currently at schools - this will be an additional location
  • Employee Health Clinic – does not currently exist
  • Read La Porte County Adult ENL Classes - currently at LPHS 
  • The third floor will serve as a much needed location for storage
The current administrative building at the Kesling campus will be the home of Food Services, which is currently located at the Coke building. The timeline for moving the departments and programs will depend heavily on resources and planning.

Intermediate Campus Implementation Timeline

The following timeline will be updated and used to guide our progress in developing and opening the new intermediate schools.

August 2017

  • Design of interior and exterior of the campus begins to be finalized to include ingress and egress routes, entrances for specific grade levels, buses, etc.
  • Design of early parking lot project for parking during construction of cafeteria and media center
  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meetings
  • Strategic planning team meetings
  • Communication of implementation timeline
  • Make decisions on materials for the new construction side of the project 

September 2017

  • Communication of planning details, to date, at the Board Work Session
  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting, including an update to teams on the building project and planning timeline
  • Announce details of staffing outline for each intermediate school
  • Bid early parking lot package

October 2017

  • Final design of full project complete
  • Conduct interviews for campus administrative positions
  • Award early parking lot package and start construction of parking lots
  • Strategic teams focus on producing answers to key questions

November 2017

  • Planning teams meet
  • Communication of results of planning teams 
  • Parking lot work begins at the current Kesling Middle School

December 2017

  • Award full project
  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting
  • Start construction of cafeteria and media center areas and relocation of utilities
  • Administrative positions for the campus will be determined
  • Principals will begin the work of placing staff in positions for the 2019/2020 school year

January 2018

  • Discussion and communication of details to the 5/6/7/8 planning team and school board

February 2018

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting
  • Final determinations made on student program of studies for both 5/6 and 7/8 schools

March 2018

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting
  • Final schedule adjustments made for both schools

April 2018

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting

May 2018

  • Staffing discussion with Teacher Association
  • Grading periods confirmed
  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting

June 2018

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting
  • Work on Kesling remodel begins
  • Work on Staffing

July 2018

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting
  • Work on staffing 

August 2018

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting
  • Final staffing decisions made

September 2018

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting

October 2018

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting

November 2018

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting

December 2018

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting
  • Media center and cafeteria turned over to us for occupation

January 2019

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting
  • Start construction of new band room, classrooms, etc., in existing cafeteria, commons and kitchen areas
  • Start construction of new classrooms in existing media center

February 2019

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting

March 2019

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting
  • Move into new office space spring break

April 2019

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting
  • Start construction of new ED area in existing office area

May 2019

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting

June 2019

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting
  • Summer construction of renovated spaces
  • New additions for building project completed
  • Begin moving into facility

July 2019

  • 5/6 and 7/8 planning team meeting

August 2019

  • Renovated areas completed
Progress updates and timeline adjustments will be presented at board meetings, planning meetings, and on the corporation web site.

Rationale for move to 5-6 and 7-8 Buildings


October 10, 2016

Building Project Update - LPCSC to Move to a Pre-K-4th,
5th/6th Intermediate School, and 7th/8th Intermediate School

Our journey to select and secure the best location for a new middle school resulted in time for us to think critically about a number of factors. The Feasibility Study dialogue, recent announcements by the Indiana Department of Education regarding mandatory preschool, and staff interview data gathered by our architects, led to the LPCSC administration to pursue building a new 5th/6th grade intermediate school on the vacant ground near Kesling middle school. Kesling Middle School will be remodeled to become our corporation 7th/8th intermediate school. Both the 5th/6th intermediate school and the 7th/8th intermediate school will be designed to serve 1,000 students. This decision creates much needed space at all elementary schools which will be for pre Kindergarten through grade 4. Thus the fifth graders move out to the new 5/6 intermediate campus.

In good faith, administration and consultants pursued a location and for a new Boston that would allow us to build an equitable facility, and depending upon the location, avoid a total redistricting of the Boston and Kesling attendance boundaries. Failure to address these issues would have resulted in division, discontent, and disappointment for both staff and the community. Not having found a location that would meet our needs, we were faced with an administrative decision which would call for us to revisit the overall needs of the corporation as identified in our feasibility study. In considering our alternatives we would also be called to consider how to best make use of resources at hand to maximize the overall impact on student programs both now and in the future.

This administrative decision was informed based on community and staff input through the feasibility study process. The overarching impact of the decision considered the entire corporation needs and outlined a vision for the future which is the charge of administration and the board.

Input and participation of stakeholders in the design and implementation of our new programming is key to assuring program success and ownership of all in the change.

Financially, building a new 5th/6th intermediate school was less costly than a new middle school and provided funding to be used to remodel the current Kesling Middle School and transform it into our 7th/8th intermediate school. The new intermediate school will be constructed on the grounds where the current administrative offices are located. This centrally-located, convenient site will allow us to make better use of the property we currently own.

This move will improve K-12 programming by allowing our students and staff to work together in proximity and allow students to work together with their graduating class for four years before entering high school. This will strengthen all programs by providing consistency and articulation with upper-grade-level curriculum and programming.

How and why was this determination made?

The concept of having one large 6th, 7th, and 8th grade middle school was discussed during the Feasibility Study but ruled out by the committee. A second consideration was to build a 6th-grade-only building and have 7th/8th grades in another location. This idea was discarded because a one-year transition and isolation of the sixth grade was not supported.

Throughout the discussion of locating the building site for the new middle school, there was high interest in keeping the two middle schools close to the center of our district, without redistricting. This narrowed the location possibilities and caused us to reevaluate. We knew that building one new middle school would, naturally, result in the new school becoming more “popular”. Depending upon the location of the new middle school, it was likely that redistricting would be necessary and, as much as we wanted both middle schools to be equal in programming and facilities, the fact was that there would be a natural affinity for the new Boston Middle School to be favored. Disappointment and division would exist not only between parents and students but among staff as well.

The more we looked at locations and could not secure an acceptable location, the more it became clear that an educated decision had to be made one which administration was charged to make considering the feasibility study data and what would make the most impact on district needs. The decision was made to separate grades 5th/6th and 7th/8th and establish an intermediate campus for our students while creating valuable space at each elementary school.

Upon completion of our improvements, all of our students will be able to experience attending the new 5/6 building and the improved 7th/8th building. Outside of moral suffering because the Boston students and staff anticipated a new school to be built, the benefits of moving to intermediate schools are numerous. One of the goals promoted by the Feasibility Study was to ensure that all students receive an equal educational experience that prepares them for college and/or future careers. Having all students, beginning with grade 5, attend the same schools works in harmony with our curricular philosophy. In addition to preparing students for the future, our Feasibility Study was initiated to assure that our schools are capable of delivering student programs ten years from now. When we implement the Pre-K-4th, 5th/6th, and 7th/8th configuration, the only schools that would ever need re-districting would be our Pre-K – 4th schools.

Recent discussion at the state level is laying the foundation for mandated preschool. This movement was not in existence when we conducted the Feasibility Study. When we revisited the Feasibility Study, we wanted to create spaces and impact as many buildings and students as possible. Considering our decision to move to 5th/6th and 7th/8th schools, every elementary school in the corporation will gain space by moving the 5th grade out of the building, providing much needed space without the need for additional construction. The end result will be an elementary program configuration of pre- kindergarten to grade 4 (Pre-K-4).

Also appealing to us is the fact that our corporation efforts to guarantee a challenging curriculum, extracurricular programming, and consistency will be much easier to maintain. From fifth grade forward, students will be in the same building with their graduation class. In addition to students being together, staff will be in the same building for meetings regarding curriculum, testing, and program articulation.

Impact on project timeline and costs

Logistically, all of the preparation and staff interviews conducted, to date, will be beneficial in making the transition. Schmidt Associates have been conducting interviews with staff and stakeholders for each school in our system. Much of what has been recorded and shared reflects the fact that each of our elementary schools need more space. Further, our middle schools have been unequal in a number of facility and programming areas. Careful notes reflect the current strengths of each middle school and we intend to utilize this information to maximize an effective remodel of Kesling Middle school. More students will benefit from our new configuration and our efforts to guarantee curriculum and extracurricular experiences for our students will be greatly improved.

Next Steps

The natural tendency for all of us, including staff, students, and parents, is to begin wondering how this change will affect us personally.

Questions will surface such as: In which school will I teach? How will the administrators be selected? What about athletics? How will my younger elementary school children walk to school without their older sibling? Will we have enough room for all of the students in band and orchestra? These are all good questions and there will be many more that will need to be addressed as we prepare for opening day of the 2019/2020 school year, when we kick off a new era for the La Porte Community School Corporation.

To answer these questions, we are establishing strategic planning teams to develop the programming and educational model that will be designed for Pre- K/4th, 5th/6th, and 7th/8th schools. This configuration is not a new concept in education nor within the Duneland conference, it will be our interest to visit other schools that have implemented this configuration but ultimately we want to shape our programs to meet our needs in La Porte.

Additionally, administration is meeting with each school staff in order to field their questions and concerns and assure staff that the next phases of the process will involve connecting grade levels with each other and our architects in order to be prepared for the opening of the 2019/2020 school year.

Strategic planning teams will convene in November, and over the next year and a half, to produce programming recommendations for the following areas:

1. Pre-K-4 Programming Model

2. 5/6 Programming Model

3. 7/8 Programming Model

4. Drug Free Task Force

5. K-12 High Ability Program

6. K-12 Athletic Program

7. College and Career Readiness

The program details that are identified will influence the final outcome of the building projects and the transition to the Pre-K- 4th, 5th/6th, and 7th/8th configurations.

You are encouraged to get involved in the work that will be done by these teams. Interested persons should contact Kelley Glass at the Educational Services Center.

Lastly, please visit our building project blog at the following link in order to stay up to date on our building construction progress:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August Board update on projects

Click on the image below to see the New Handley Elementary School project video

Click on the image below for High School Performing Arts Center Addition video

Click on the image below to watch video of 5/6/7/8 project: