The district is reportedly looking closer at a plan that would ultimately move 5th graders to the middle school, when a replacement for Briscoe is built.
The proposal originally grew out of the facilities subcommittee recomendation [READ THE REPORT], which was part of the Strategic Planning initiative. It was also the subject of one of the questions in last year's Budget Shortfall Survey.
The discussion is being fast-tracked now, as the city is looking at a January deadline for submission of a "statement of intererst" to the MSBA (Massachusetts School Building Authoriy) to get on the list for state funding for the project. In order to put together the statement, the school's configuration and size must be determined. Mayor Scanlon has estimated that the project could begin in as soon as 4 years.
The topic will be discussed in detail at Monday night's School Committee of the Whole meeting at Memorial at 7pm. The middle school project will also be a topic at Tuesday night's Joint School Committee/City Council meeting that will take place at the BHS auditorium at 7pm.
As this is a potentially major restructuring, we urge community members to take an early interest in the discussions to assure that the move is academically—as well as fiscally—sound.
Here is some research on various middle school models, including the proposed 5-8.
11/11 UPDATE: We have just posted the full Strategic Planning Committee Facilities Usage report that was completed last spring. This is the report that will be discussed at Monday night's meeting, and recommends the 5-8 middle school model in addition to other structural changes that include the long talked-about Early
Childhood Center for preK-K. Its an interesting and well-documented report, but contains some frank and troubling details about the condition of Briscoe. Take some time to read it.
This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.