Cranston Public Schools Transition/All Day Kindergarten Update
As the year continues, it is important that our community and parents are kept informed about our many exciting changes for next school year. Please read the brief descriptions below of our progress on many of the initiatives that will affect Cranston Public Schools next year. As always, parents are encouraged to check the CPS website, CPS Facebook page/Twitter and to read your school’s
communications carefully for accurate information. If you have any other questions, please contact your child’s school or our main phone number (401) 270-8000 and we will direct your call.
All Day Kindergarten
This is an exciting, wonderful opportunity for our youngest learners to start their educational journey in a positive way and certainly helpful for parents. To be in full compliance with RI law, we will have all day Kindergarten classrooms at each elementary school. Some schools will have two or more classes to accommodate students. Most teachers have been assigned to these new classrooms and are planning for the new all day format.
We had Saturday registrations for Kindergarten to make it more convenient for parents. While registrations for next year have been successful, we know many families have not registered yet. We encourage parents to register your children for Kindergarten if you reside in Cranston and your child will be age 5 on or before September 1, 2016. Call 270-8150 for an appointment.
5th and 6th Grade/Middle School Transition
As our Kindergarten population expands, our older students will be transitioned to middle schools. Current 5th graders will attend one of four middle schools next year: Park View, Bain, Western Hills and Hope Highlands. These schools will accommodate grades 6-8 throughout the city. While academically beneficial for students, this transition impacts our district in many ways.
Earlier this year, we began the process of building staff for the middle schools. Most of the teachers who will be moving within the district to middle school positions have been identified. We still have a few positions that are available and we will be filling those positions soon. The interviews for principals at Bain, Western Hills and Hope Highlands will be held at the end of the month. Those appointments will be made in March, as we continue the transition plans.
Students and parents will be visiting middle schools and meeting with staff in late April. Details for these visits and meeting with the staff at each school will come to you, when we are closer to the date.
We will be making our schools ready for the infusion of 6th grade by renovating some areas that require updating, buying lockers for Hope Highlands, making sure the students have appropriate desks/tables, etc. While most of the buildings are ready to accommodate the 6th grade, Park View will require some work. Our Buildings/Grounds Director, Ed Collins, is working with our staff to plan for these improvements.
Our Program Supervisors for English Language Arts, math, social studies and science have been working with principals to align our curricula to meet our middle school needs. We are also very excited to offer more technology instruction to our 6th graders, so they are more adept at appropriately using technology to enhance their educational experience. Richer music offerings and world languages will also be offered to our incoming 6th graders, which we were not offered at the elementary level.
One major budgetary impact this year and next is the reinstatement of middle school sports. While our students and their families value the opportunity for our middle school student athletes to compete throughout the state (and have been very successful in their athletic pursuits), I am hopeful these programs are fully funded in my budget for 2016-2017.
In the current school year we have continued to upgrade our fleet of buses with the purchase of 24 buses. Furthermore, in 2016-2017 budget the school committee approved the purchase of an additional 7 buses. We have developed a plan to continue to accommodate transporting students to licensed day care businesses within a certain route/radius of the school. Details about this will be forthcoming in a separate letter to parents. We will no longer be able to transport students on special bus passes, which has been done in the past. These special passes included transporting students to non-residential areas such as parents’ workplaces.