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Madison sixth-graders moving to middle schools

To alleviate overcrowding in elementary schools, Madison Board of Education has agreed to move sixth-graders to Liberty and Discovery middle schools. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Starting with the 2018-2019 school year, sixth-grade classes in Madison City Schools will be relocated to Liberty and Discovery middle schools.

Madison Board of Education approved Superintendent Robby Parker’s grade reconfiguration at its March 7 meeting. The board also agreed on measures for renovation options, costs and an architect.

Liberty Middle School will see the most renovation with additional classrooms and an expanded cafeteria and gym. Discovery Middle School’s facility is larger because the campus was home to Bob Jones High School until 1996, MCS Public Relations Manager John Peck said.

Parker said moving sixth-graders into the middle school will give those students more course offerings and opportunities. “It will be a benefit to our students from an academic standpoint, as well as optimizing the space we have,” Parker said.

“The grade reconfiguration will delay the need to build a new elementary school by about 10 years. MCS elementary schools are now at about 95 percent capacity,” Parker said.

“More importantly, the change will give sixth-graders additional course and elective opportunities and more time for them and school staff to get to know one other,” Peck said. School leaders also point to studies showing better student performance in a configuration of sixth, seventh and eighth grades, compared to a mix of only seventh and eighth grades.

The board agreed to hire a construction manager to oversee the Liberty renovations and modifications at Bob Jones, Discovery and Columbia elementary schools.

“Work at the other schools is related to aligning programs for DD students (developmentally delayed), mainly to lessen the number of school changes they make as they ascend in grade,” Peck said.

Board members agree a construction manager will help with cost controls and keeping the projects on schedule.

In his recent podcast to district families, Parker discussed other options to overcrowding, which included portable classrooms (which now require an adjacent storm cellar) and adding new classrooms at existing elementary schools.

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