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School district moves fast to rearrange for start of classes on Aug. 20

June 21, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Poland School District has made some big changes for the start of the 2018-19 school year. Two of the district's buildings will be closed and condensed into the remaining three buildings.

Superintendent David Janofa said the facilities committee has worked on the problem for close to a year and has come up with recommendations to deal with financial problems and dwindling enrollment numbers. To be more efficient means closing two buildings, namely Dobbins and North.

At North, the building had remained open the past few years and housed the after-school program. This program gave students a place to go when parents worked past normal school hours. The program charged for participation and is therefore self-sufficient.

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Poland after school students bid farewell to the end of the school year and the end of the program at North. The staff and students will miss North Elementary as the school closes and the program will move to Poland Union School.

"The program was always at Union Elementary School," Janofa said. "It was moved to North for the past three years and is now being brought back to Union for the 2018-19 school year."

That would leave North empty. Under both proposals the facility committee gave, North would either be sold or tore down. Under both proposals, Poland youth baseball gets to keep the fields on the west end of the property.

As for Dobbins, Janofa said the eventual plan is to move the bus garage and tennis courts to the Dobbins property. Dobbins would be tore down to make room.

While that part of the project is still down the road, a big change at McKinley is not. A new drive is expected to be completed by the start of the coming school year. In past years, the school buses would line up on College Street, Lee Street, and Cortland Street. With grades three, four and five moving into McKinley this fall, there are expected to be 17 buses picking up children.

"We are putting in a drive around the American Legion Post that will hold all the buses," Janofa said. "That way all the students will dismiss out the back door and never go near the street."

He said the cost of finishing the bus drive would be minimal. Half of it is already in place.

As for the move, the board approved the hiring of summer help to assist with the move to McKinley. Ken Ekis, operations director, has been in charge of the move and has made it a point to only move things once. It took a lot of coordination and planning, but it is all coming together.

On the technology side, all the classrooms in Poland schools will see the smart boards with wall projectors. The new technology will allow for lessons to be projected from above the smart boards instead of having a large projector hanging from the ceiling.

Besides the facility plans, the district is making big strides in offering students the best possible courses for their future. At the high school an eighth grade Spanish class will be added this year. Janofa said this would make Spanish a five year program and allow for an AP (advanced placement) Spanish course at the high school. This would give Poland students a chance to earn college credit when they graduate.

"We are also adding an AP computer science class and we are bringing art back to the third and fourth grades," Janofa said. "We are also expanding the K-2 Bridges Math program to the third through fifth grade. We'll then have a cohesive math program in K-8 next year."

He also mentioned the Poland district will be getting a share of a $1.2 million Striving Readers Grant. The grant was applied for by a group of local schools and the funds are to be used for materials, intervention, professional development, and to pay for qualified substitutes in K-12 literacy.

"We are going to look at hiring literacy coaches," Janofa said. "We are very excited about being a part of this program and grant."

To date, everything is coming together and looking good for the opening day of school, which is Aug. 20. The earlier start date means Poland students will wrap up the school year before Memorial Day.

By mid-July all the classrooms and furniture will be moved for the 2018-19 school year. When teachers enter their classrooms next month they will be able to focus on setting up the classes and not have to worry about moving anything.

Janofa spoke at Poland Village Council's meeting on Tuesday and addressed these topics and what is going on.



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