Fifth graders will make move to the Grayling Middle School for 2019-2020 school year
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Fifth grade students will make their way up to the Grayling Middle School a year earlier for the next school year to alleviate a crunch for space at the school they are now attending.
The Crawford AuSable School Board of Education, at its regular monthly meeting held on Monday, Feb. 11, approved moving fifth graders to the Grayling Middle School for the 2019-2020 school year.
Traditionally, the middle has housed sixth through eighth grade students. But the introduction of the Great Start Readiness Program, a preschool program which is taught at the Grayling Elementary School, has created a demand for more classrooms. In addition, for the current school year, there are eight full sections of kindergarten classes as opposed to five classrooms that were planned for in the past.
“With the addition of another grade level and the addition of three more classes in kindergarten, they’re just bursting at the seams at the elementary school,” said Grayling Middle School Principal Tim Sanchez.
School officials have been studying the possibility of moving the fifth grade to the middle school since 2011.
Acknowledging that some parents have concerns about fifth grade students interacting with eighth graders, Sanchez said the students will be separated in different areas of the school. The fifth grade classrooms will be located in the third-story level of the building along with the sixth grade students.
“We’re in a unique situation where we can keep them separated very easily because of our tiered building with three different stories,” Sanchez said.
The school will have two lunch times, where respective students will have their lunch periods.
“Our lunches will be separate, so the kids will never be on the same floor with the eighth graders,” Sanchez said.
The biggest changes coming with the transition will impact the teachers, administrators and other staff in the school.
“On the adult end, it’s a little bit more that we have to do, but as far as the kids go, their day-to-day is pretty much going to be very similar to what they are used to,” said Sanchez, who is serving his first year as principal at the middle school.
The change will impact 115 fifth graders.
Sanchez said the school housed fifth graders over 20 plus years ago.
“We knew we had the space and resources to be able to do it, and so it’s just a matter of making it happen and making the schedule work,” he said.
The growth in student numbers at the elementary school is attributed to having preschool there plus the school-of-choice program, which allows parents from surrounding communities to enroll them in schools in Grayling.
“We have a lot of school-of-choice students, and people that come in want to start their kids out in our school system,” Sanchez said.
Also, the Crawford AuSable School District has continuously been recognized by state and national originations for student achievement.
“People see that from around the area and they want to send their kids here for the best education,” Sanchez said.
Letters will be sent to parents regarding moving the fifth grade, and a presentation will be held where administrators will field questions.
“We want to able to answer any question that they may have,” Sanchez said.
In a related action last week, the school board also approved a seven-hour schedule at the Grayling Middle School.
The change is for sixth through eighth grade students. The added time during the school day will allow the students to take an added English/language arts class, which will help them enhance their reading and writing skills. They will also have a chance to take an added math class.
Finally, the change will allow students to choose an elective class such as physical education, art, band and choir.