NEW WASHINGTON - With K-12 consolidation on the horizon, the Buckeye Central Board of Education heard a proposal Thursday night for a middle school curriculum.
Junior high math teacher Tammy Studer chaired a committee studying the middle school concept. She said pairs of teachers and community members visited Plymouth, Cory Rawson, Tiffin and Ashland Crestview middle schools, along with gathering observations from Colonel Crawford and Bucyrus.
The middle school proposal calls for three instructional teams, one each for 5th and 6th grades, and another for grades 7 and 8 combined.
Studer projected next year's fifth grade at around 58 students, which would be divided into three sections of about 19 students each. A sixth grade of roughly 46 students would split into three sections of 15 if the board adopts the plan.
Current staff would make the transition, with core teachers anchoring the language-arts program for all 5th and 6th grade students at the start of the day.
As outlined, the 7th and 8th grade team would departmentalize similar to their current structure, with five core teachers and the additional responsibility of an assist period.
Studer said the proposal calls for full inclusion of special education students in grades 5-8. One special education instructor and one classroom aide per grade level would assist core teachers, working with special education and at-risk students.
"I don't think the regular ed teaching style should change," said Studer, although homework assignments for special education students would be modified as appropriate.
Studer said the K-12 school would need an additional multi-handicapped unit at the middle school level.
Studer recommended having talented and gifted students served by a TAG teacher in the regular classroom, rather than being taken out for TAG programs.
"In summary, we feel that the majority of this model can be implemented using our current staff," states the proposal. "The only additional staffing that would be needed would be an additional (multiple-handicapped) teacher and a few classroom aides."
Board members will consider the middle school idea, although there has been no decision on adopting the program.
The current setup has elementary classes at Bloomville, Chatfield and Tiro, with grades 7-12 at the existing New Washington school.
New campus construction began during the summer at SR 602 and Guiss Road at the edge of New Washington. The new school is set to open in roughly another year, and the district would not be able to institute a middle school program until then.
Andy Welch of the Buehrer Architectural Group said roof construction is beginning at the new school site, along with window installation. "It's starting to really come together," he said. "It's looking nice."
Also Thursday, Tiro council members said the village is interested in the school property as a possible tower site for a new water system.
The next board meeting was changed to 7 p.m. Dec.15 at New Washington.