First Look: Draft of the OBOE Contingency Plan — If Peck Place is Not Remediated

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Feb 172014

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Here is a DRAFT of the OBOE Contingency Plan as requested by the Board of Selectmen.

To: Orange Board of Selectmen
From: Lynn K. McMullin, Superintendent
RE: Requested Orange Board of Education Contingency Plan [Should Town of Orange Choose NOT to Remediate Peck Place School]
Date: February 2014

During the week of February 10 – 14, through several different venues, the Board of Education was given the charge by the Board of Selectmen to develop a contingency plan for the schools in the event that the Town of Orange decided not to remediate Peck Place School either permanently or for some yet-to-be-determined amount of time.

While this is a preliminary response to the request from the Board of Selectmen, for a specific plan, and while it feasibly could be implemented, it is not in the best interests of children. None of the logistics are certainties at this time. The plan that we used to divide Peck Place for the short 3-week interim before the move to Yale was never intended to be a long-term solution. It is far less effective than the grade reconfiguration plan presented below.

The following contingency plan, which reconfigures the grades in Orange to fit into the three remaining schools, was developed collaboratively.

We approached the task dutifully and with diligence, but with heavy hearts. Inherent in this consolidation, we see the demise of many of the features of education in Orange which we and our parents hold dear. Principals have worked hard to build fidelity among their staffs and community among their parents. They know their families well. They have worked hard to implement whole school programs for Safe Schools, PBIS, data teams, PTOs, and too many processes and procedures to mention.

In developing this contingency plan, we considered the following:
Attention to an educationally-sound reorganization of space and grade-levels. (Curriculum and instruction were given
precedence over family convenience, for example.)
o Opportunity for grade-level teachers to work together
o Opportunity for specialists to focus on fewer grades
o Programming that makes sense (Spanish, Instrumental Music, Strings)
Attention to issues of management, including personnel, resources, buses, cafeteria, etc.
o Potential reductions in personnel (painful for us, but no doubt appealing to others)
o Ease of scheduling
o Minimizing potential purchases of furniture, program elements, and equipment (Kindergarten furniture is smaller than
Grade 6 furniture, for example)
o Site licenses for Lexia, Dreambox, etc. can be purchased by grade-level (vs. by whole school site licensing)
o Consolidation of grade-level curriculum and resources
o Library resources based on reading levels and curricular units
o Supervision and evaluation of staff, curriculum, and programming
o Opportunities for differentiation based on age-appropriateness (cafeteria offerings, playground equipment)
In the absence of neighborhood schools, reuniting the students into grade-level schools, such as they have in Kindergarten and will have again in Middle School.

We are fully aware of the plan’s shortcomings:
The loss of the Peck Place School identity, community, and culture
The number of available classrooms in the three schools results in larger class sizes.

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 Overall, there would be 13.5 classroom teachers laid-off in the first year; lay-offs continue until 2016
 Families could have children (i.e. conferences, concerts, PTO meetings, etc.) in two or three buildings
 Excess transitions between schools: transition into K, transition from Grade 1, transition from Grade 4, transition from Grade 6
 Staggered arrivals and dismissals (must be coordinated with Amity)
 Reconfiguration of bus routes; impact on drop-offs and pick-ups; longer bus routes
 Additional lunch waves required to meet minimum occupancy requirements; lunch waves would begin at 10:45
 Exceeds occupancy of the gym/all-purpose room for concerts, assemblies, and all-parent programs (RB = 574; TH = 572); ex: Veteran’s Day at RB, with 497 in student body, would only have 77 spaces for staff, Veteran guests, parents, and speakers, etc.
 Reconfigure the Student Information System and PowerSchool database
 Would need additional computer resources allocated for SBAC testing at upper grades
 Inconsistency of instruction in Special Education with too many grade-level transitions

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