Kutztown School Board, administration in favor of keeping 5th grade at elementary schools, not at middle school

Patriot photo by Lisa Mitchell Kutztown School Board member Amy Faust talks about keeping 5th grade at the elementary schools.

Kutztown School Board discussed keeping 5th grade in the elementary schools, rather than moving the grade level to the middle school.

The administration’s recommendation to the School Board is to not relocate the 5th grade to the middle school, noting feedback from Kutztown parents indicating a strong preference for leaving 5th grade students at the elementary schools. Administration also believes that although space is limited, there is a manageable situation at Greenwich Elementary to maintain a K-5 structure.

Board member Amy Faust toured Greenwich Elementary and liked the arrangement for K-5 in that building.

“I’m all for K-5, I’ve been pushing it, but I also think we need to be up front at the fact that could change on a dime,” said Faust during a March 4 school board meeting.

“There could be circumstances that would force us moving those students,” she said, noting that an increase in enrollment could mean the district would need to move 5th grade to the middle school. “We really don’t have a lot of insight... on how they’re going to do it, keeping it K-5. The details are not all worked out.”

“The building was built to accommodate K-5,” said board member Al Darion. “I heartily approve of the gifted program moving to the middle school, so that gives three rooms.”

“I agree, I would like to see the gifted program back in Kutztown,” said Faust. “It would afford our gifted teacher more time with the students instead in traveling time. With that said, we still have a lot of unknown variables.”

She was not sure this is a long-term solution.

Board member Kurt Friehauf said the recommendation is congruent with the research that found decreased performance in math, reading and science in 5th graders who were moved to the middle school.

“Statistically significant,” said Friehauf.

“That means we should keep some excess capacity so that doesn’t happen,” said board member James Shrawder.

Being a discussion item only, there was no vote.

The next School Board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on March 18 at the Kutztown High School library.