This blog represents my opinions and my opinions alone, and certainly doesn't represent the collective thoughts of any of the Boards or organizations that I serve on. Unfortunately I make all sorts of miistakes, I'm a picky eater, I can't sing and I just recently found out I have been spelling certain words in my vocabulary wrong my entire life. That being said, I still continue to muddle ever onward. Welcome.

Monday, November 15, 2010

FAQ: Maywood and Winnequah School Consolidation

Frequently Asked Questions about Consolidation of Maywood and Winnequah
Updated: 10.22.2010

Q1: How will staff members give input?
A: This year, Maywood and Winnequah teachers are joining together for half of the monthly staff meetings. At these meetings, collaborative time to discuss and plan the consolidation issue and other topics of mutual interest, such as curriculum alignment, for example, will occur. All staff members are able to provide information about suggestions, needs/concerns, items to plan for, and ideas for merging the two groups of staff and students. Additionally, staff members have the opportunity to be on a Consolidation Planning Team.

Q2: How will parents be informed and involved?
A: In September, the PTO Board met with Superintendent Craig Gerlach and Principal Ann Schroeder about the consolidation issue. At this meeting, the PTO Board, led by co-presidents Cathy Bernards and Jennifer Garrett, gave suggestions, which we are incorporating. For example, the October PTO meeting will be held at Maywood after the Maywood Open House so that Superintendent Craig Gerlach, the guest speaker, can reach a broad audience of interested parents. There will also be a Community Listening Session scheduled for November.
The Monona Grove School Board will discuss this item at the November school board meeting and reach a decision at the December board meeting. Additionally, with the closing of Nichols two years ago, we have past experience dealing with moving logistics. Parents volunteered to help teachers in their classrooms pack and unpack, which was very helpful.

Q3: What will happen to the Maywood logo and mascot?
A: Staff members will discuss this as a combined 4K-5 staff. Choices include continuing with one existing mascot (Winnequah Turtles or the Winnequah Wonders) or coming up with a new mascot. There has been discussion that since Winnequah will become a new school with 4K-5 students, we should come up with new mascot to reflect this new beginning.

Q4: How will a combined school affect the walk zone? Which students will be bussed and which ones won’t?
A: Currently, Winnequah has a ¾ mile walk area. This was determined by the Dane County Sheriff’s Department when Winnequah became a grades 3-6 school in 2008. John Vandermerwe, MG Transportation Director, will work with the Dane County Sheriff’s Department to determine if there would be a change with 4K-2 students at Winnequah.
Q5: How will the bus ride work with kids in the 4K-5 grades riding the same bus?
A: Students will ride the same bus. Other districts with many grades riding the same bus handle this in different ways. Some make no accommodations, and others assign seats with the youngest children sitting in the front of the bus. 4K students in the district are given door-to-door bus service.

Q6: Are the bathroom facilities appropriate for small children? Will the Winnequah bathroom facilities meet code for the younger student population?
A: All bathrooms are up to code for all elementary age and handicapped student use. Student bathrooms were remodeled in 2008 when Winnequah underwent extensive remodeling.

Q7: Will 4K and kindergarten rooms have bathrooms in the classrooms?
A: There is no room to add bathrooms in the kindergarten rooms at Winnequah; however, one could be added to the 4K room. The bathrooms, however, are located conveniently and nearby in the hall. To note, Maywood has three classrooms with bathrooms. When the grade level has been larger than three classrooms, as in the case of last year with five kindergarten rooms, not all students had bathrooms in classrooms. Also, the 4K classes at Maywood have not had a bathroom in the classroom since T4K began. At Taylor Prairie School, one of two 4K
classrooms has a bathroom and two of six kindergarten rooms have bathrooms in the classroom. The school toilet height is similar or lower than the standard home toilet height.

Q8: Will staffing be adjusted again once the composition of the school has been changed? How will the district practice discouraging teacher travel be affected?
A: We adjust staffing annually based on need, FTE’s of staff, number of students in building, teacher certification, and having the least amount of travel.

Q9: How will students be accommodated at recess?
A: We anticipate buying primary age playground equipment, especially for 4K, K, and 1 students and would study where that equipment would best be placed. Due to warranty issues, we can’t move any of the Maywood equipment to Winnequah. After determining the needs, we’ll look at placement of equipment.

Q10: Where will the primary age students and the intermediate age students overlap during the day?
A: Typically, on the bus, before school, and after school. A typical lunch schedule for a school this size would include three lunch periods with the following groupings: K/1, 2/3, and 4/5.

Q11: What is the student capacity of Winnequah?
A: 550+

Q12: Is the water problem from two or three years ago fixed at Winnequah (the Band Room was affected)?
A: The Band room was extensively remodeled—old cabinets and tiers for seating ripped out, new floor, new ceiling tiles and lights, painting, and sound boards added as well as exterior work to prevent seepage. Since the “100 year old flood,” there has not been water seeping in through the ground. This summer, several school districts struggled with increased heat and humidity. The band room had moisture from condensation on pipes, which was remedied. This room is not used currently, but is scheduled to be the strings room next year.

Q13: Will any renovations be necessary? When would they take place? Would they be finished before the start of school in the fall?
A: Recommended renovations will include: removal of lockers and replacement with cubbies/hooks, adding primary age playground equipment, renovating three classrooms on the lower level that weren’t renovated, installing a bathroom in the 4K classroom, adding two additional key readers at outside entrances, among a few other needs that we are currently discussing.

Q14: Will renovations affect Summer School in Monona? If so, how?
A: No. We plan to have renovations completed after Summer School so that the building is ready for the start of the 2011-12 school year.

Q15: Will teachers have enough classroom storage?
A: All new cabinetry with counters and sinks were installed in most classrooms when Winnequah was remodeled. Just like at home, there’s never enough storage, but we will look at what additional storage needs there may be and plan how we might address that need.

Q16: What is the long-term plan for building utilization? What will happen to Maywood and Nichols? Are there plans to move any more grades out to Cottage Grove now or in the future? What is the plan for an operational referendum?
A: Consolidating from three buildings (Nichols, Winnequah, Maywood) to two buildings (Nichols, Winnequah) is part of a long-range plan that will serve us well into the future. Maywood would be mothballed; there is no considering given to selling Maywood. Depending on the possibilities of selling Nichols, possibly the District Office and alternative programs could move to Maywood. It’s the district’s goal to keep elementary students in their own communities. Given the budget deficit, it is anticipated that the School Board will examine the need for a referendum and look to Spring of 2012, possibly.

Q17: What will the Winnequah map look like if we combine the schools?
A: Refer to the map. This fall, teachers from both schools agreed about homeroom placement locations: 4K-K in the library hall, 1, 2 & 3 in the Cafeteria hall, and 4 and 5 downstairs on the lower level. Teachers identified rooms for those classes as well as Art, Music, Library, Strings, Phy. Ed., and Cafeteria. At our next meeting, we’ll look at where resource teacher rooms will be located. Typically, resource teachers often share rooms depending on space. Currently, we do not have an Early Childhood half-day program; if the need arises in the future and it was
determined to have a half-day program at school rather than in a community setting, we’d identify a classroom for this purpose.

Q18: What will happen if the student population exceeds capacity at Winnequah?
A: When overcrowding occurs, building additions, modular units, reopening of closed buildings, building new buildings are typical ways districts deal with space needs.

Q19: What is the actual cost savings of closing Maywood?
A: See handout.

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