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College and Career Readiness
Earlier this month, the superintendent hosted a informational meeting on the requested study of reconfiguring the 9th grade into Hunter High School. This was a community based request and the meeting was the first step in a proposed reconfiguration. As promised at that meeting, we have accumulated questions that were received and have posted responses for your review. We have also attached a PDF (click on the link below entitled, “Grade Reconfiguration Process) that explains the reconfiguration process. If you have additional questions that are not addressed in this post, please send those here. Thanks for your interest.
9th Grade Reconfiguration Questions and Answers:
Why is Hunter High School considering grade reconfiguration or adding the 9th grade?
Last year, the 2012-13 school year, several members of the community approached the Hunter High Community Council expressing interest in looking into the benefits and or possibility of bringing the 9th grade over to the High School. Kennedy and Hunter Junior High Schools Community Councils also had people approach them with a request to look at the possibility of the 9th grade being relocated to the High School. All three Community Councils wrote a formal letter to the Granite School District Administration requesting that a grade reconfiguration be considered for Hunter High.
What are some of the benefits to bringing the 9th grade to Hunter High?
There are many benefits to having the 9th grade at the high school but some of the biggest reasons to consider bringing the 9th grade to the high school would be for the increased opportunities for academics and extra-curricular activities. Students that have wanted to take accelerated or advanced classes would have the ability to do so. Students may be able to graduate earlier or access more college level courses. Administrators, teachers, counselors, and support staff would also be able to provide interventions and support earlier to students that may struggle academically or socially. Students may be less inclined to drop out or fall behind.
Is there enough room to add 9th graders to Hunter High? Isn’t there already too many students? Would the 9th graders fit without bringing in relos? How would Hunter High be able to accommodate more students?
There are currently 6 relocatable classrooms located at Hunter Junior High that could potentially be moved to Hunter High. Additionally, there are several rooms currently at Hunter High that are not being used as traditional classrooms. These rooms would be freed up for instructional purposes. Hunter High School is currently accommodating over 400 students that are on special permits. The number of special permits a school takes in each year is evaluated based on the ability of the school to accommodate them. The Hunter High Administration would work with the Granite School District to make sure there was adequate space to accommodate the 9th grade if the community decided to proceed with this reconfiguration proposal.
Currently, what is class size limit? What size will classes increase to? Will it decrease a teacher’s ability to teach effectively with an influx of students?
Class size is determined by local classroom capacity and programmatic offerings. This would not change in the event of a reconfiguration. Class sizes would not increase. The increase of new students would be offset by teachers and staff who would move over to Hunter High from other schools that have reduced staff, or by hiring new teachers.
What would the student to teacher ratio be?
The current FTE (full-time equivalent) ratio as set by the district is 28.25. This means that a school with 1000 students would be given funds to hire 35 teachers (1000/28.25 = 35.39). More students would mean more teachers and staff to support them.
How can it be a healthy learning environment if you add 600+ kids to lunchroom, halls, and classes?
We have larger school populations in a number of our schools. Population challenges are offset by enhanced scheduling of lunch periods and other strategies to minimize the impact.
Why would it not cost money to bring in more buildings to a parking lot?
Since that work is done in-house, the cost is minimal to relocate those resources.
This reconfiguration is being studied as a result of a community request. The district feels strongly that such decisions should be made at the local level. The School Community Council members (made up of parents and teachers throughout the Hunter High network) have requested the study. The district is simply adhering to the communities’ request.
Why put 9th graders in a new school where there are seniors and also 9th graders are still learning about themselves, they are still kids, give them time to grow.
The current school configuration model for our high schools was not based on academic or social criteria, but instead on necessity due to high initial growth of our school district. In most other places throughout the state and in other states, the 9-12 model is recognized as providing a better, more focused high school atmosphere resulting in higher graduation rates and increased academic outcomes. There is no data that suggests that this type of configuration is detrimental to the academic and social development of 9th grade students.
How do the 12th graders react to the 9th graders in “their school”?
Throughout Salt Lake School District and in Canyons, and in our own Granger High School, there has not appeared to be any adverse reactions to having the 9th grade in the building.
What programs from the Jr. High are you cutting?
We do not anticipate our junior high schools cutting any programs. On the contrary, we are excited about providing a true middle school program for our 7th and 8th grade students that will provide them additional opportunities that may have been limited with older students in the school.
What happens to the Jr. High left half empty?
There is no data that suggest that reconfiguration would leave any of our junior high schools half empty. At best, the loss of the 9th grade would open up around 25-35% of the junior high facilities to allow for the enhancement of our 7-8 middle school programs.
If the change doesn’t take place, could the schedule of the Jr. High Schools be changed to match the High School for activities and clubs?
Individual schools can request schedule changes directly to the board regardless of this reconfiguration proposal. However, such schedule changes would not necessarily increase 9th grade opportunities for activities and clubs.
What happens to the 9th graders who are guaranteed to be in the Quest Program if they move it to Hunter High?
The Quest Program is a Gifted and Talented program that is only offered at Kennedy Junior High. Students in the program are offered three gifted and talented courses, in core subjects in their 9th grade year. We would work to accommodate these students by offering either the same GT classes or other AP or concurrent enrollment classes. There is no reason to believe this reconfiguration would disenfranchise gifted and talented students. On the contrary, additional academic and collegiate level offerings for 9th grade students would prove beneficial.
Will sports align with the students?
Why not move Kennedy Jr. to Kearns High?
A boundary reconfiguration is not needed, nor have any communities requested it. If the reconfiguration proposal were to succeed, both Kearns and Hunter High Schools would both have 9-12 populations. Any student can currently special permit to the school of their choice.
How much traffic will more students make?
Since 9th graders don’t have drivers licenses, it is not expected that there would be any additional parking issues. However, there would be an expected increase in drop off and bus routes. The current physical configuration of Hunter is conducive to moderate increase in morning and afternoon traffic. Adjustments in drop off points can always be made depending on the actual impact.
From this point on, will Hunter be a 9-12 High School?
No, the community will make this decision.
When will this take place?
The earliest this proposal could be adopted would be for the fall of 2015.
How will it affect students on permit? How will it affect future permits and how many can be accepted?
There are currently 400 permits to Hunter High. These could potentially be capped based on full 9-12 enrollment.
Why not a new school?
Hunter High is one of our newest facilities in the district. A new school building is not needed to facilitate a 9-12 reconfiguration.
Can you split high schools? (Granger, Kearns, Hunter)
We would need more information on your question in order to answer it. It is not understood what you are asking.
Additional questions not addressed in this post can be submitted here.
Question – I have been teaching for starting my 7th year in granite district. I spent two years in preschool and the last going on my fifth in the OEK kinder program. While I was teaching preK they would focus our trainings on purposeful teaching that we are suppose to look at what we need to teach and find the best most fun way to teach it. I think of this often, I sometimes see projects or things done in school and think what is the purpose behind it. I have one child in preK and 3 adopted teenagers who all attend granite schools and sometimes I see projects that take two days and I cannot find one purpose in it, other then it is fun. I get frustrated, I am a kindergarten teacher who makes sure I do purposeful things. I think if my child struggles in art I would put him in a art class, I would not look to the school to provide this. I do realize we introduce a lot of things to students and believe this is good, but I get frustrated when I see projects that do not have a purpose and take soooo much time away from academics. Being in kindergarten it is very easy to find cutesy things but they usually do not have a purpose. I think this is a fluff we can cut out. Thank you for listening to my complaint and I hope it is of some use.
Response – Thank you for your thoughts. You’re right on point. Kindergarten lays the foundation for high school graduation which is the reason our public school system exists. Thus, beginning with kindergarten (and in pre-K as well), any and all activities should have a pedagogical objective straight from the core. It should just about go without saying that activities that are meaningful, relevant and engaging (aka “fun”) will be learned and retained. To that end we’ll assume your use of the word “purposeful” means focused on student proficiency in the Utah Core Standards which have been prescribed for all grade levels, including kindergarten, and in all content areas, including arts. With the 13-14 school year, the state will start holding schools accountable with the UCAS system which, we discovered from the dry run last year, is really a measure of fidelity to the state core (NOT fidelity to a particular tool). We highly encourage teachers to use curriculum maps, pacing guides and, where available, screener and benchmark tools for purposes of planning, teaching and assessing learning. As a practical matter, being able to demonstrate student growth along the lines of the core curriculum (all subjects) is becoming a matter of job security – thanks to SB 64. The district is working as quickly as possible to develop helps and tools teachers can use to these ends.
Welcome to the latest superintendent snapshot where the superintendent recognizes two special students who received perfect scores on the ACT. If you have a question for the superintendent, please submit it here. Have a great weekend.
P.S. Abraham wasn’t really in an “animal training” course. His outfit was for spirit week at his school.
Question – I just listened to your blog, and was shocked by the CCR booklets you had. You said you give them out in 6th grade, but I have never seen this book. How does our school get a hold of copies for our students? It would be nice to show parents that learning study skills and being a good student now does make a difference later in their school career.
Response – Thank you for your question about the Student Planning Guides. The College and Career Readiness Department printed Student Planning Guides for all 6th grade students last spring. Junior high counselors were asked to distribute the planning guides to 6th graders (and their parents) at that time in conjunction with 6th grade-to-junior high registration meetings. Some of those meeting were held at the elementary schools but most were likely to have been held at the junior high. It’s unfortunate that you, a 6th grade teacher, were not part of the distribution. We are sending you a classroom set in district mail. Below, is the link for the current edition. Please use as you like. Also, your school social worker delivered a bag of resources to your principal in October including the planning guide and others materials to be used with 6th grade students.
The Student Planning Guide is currently under revision for next spring. Please feel free to give us input/feedback/suggestions for the 2013 edition. We will make sure your school’s counselors and social worker get you a newly updated classroom set when they are printed.
Thanks to the College and Career Readiness Department for their assistance in responding to this question.