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Message from the Superintendent - Middle school reconfiguration

Dear Families -

Kent Kultgen  I hope this letter finds you well. We wanted to reach out to inform you about an upcoming consideration that will impact the structure of our school system. The district is recommending the reconfiguration of our schools by moving 6th grade to our middle schools, thereby creating K-5 elementary schools and 6-8 middle schools.

The reason we are looking to reconfigure is based on the academic and developmental needs of our students. The “why,” as more fully explained below, is meant to enhance the middle school experience by creating a three-year middle school. In moving to this model, our intent is that the district:

  • Rely on the curriculum experience of teachers who are experts in their content areas, such as science, English language arts, math, and social studies.
  • Provide electives in which students can explore and cultivate their talents.
  • Increase student engagement through participation in school-sponsored clubs and after-school programs.

Our goal is to implement this change in the fall of the 2025-2026 school year. This timeline will give us 21 months to plan, seek input, listen, and work through the challenges and concerns of this reconfiguration. We understand that this transition may raise questions, and we are committed to seeking your input and keeping you informed through the process.

Included below is a timeline of meetings and events that are planned to share information and gather input. I also invite you to talk to your principal or any other administrator. More information, such as an exhaustive list of FAQs are available at www.sno.wednet.edu/middleschool. The FAQs are meant to provide a baseline of current thinking and the impact of this reconfiguration. At this point, the FAQs are not answered. Answers will emerge in the coming weeks and months as we seek input and are able to provide more information. Furthermore, our website includes important information and details regarding upcoming community sessions and forums to gather your input and address concerns. It will be continually updated with the latest information as we move forward. Your involvement in this process is vital, and we encourage you to share your questions and thoughts with us. Additionally, we welcome any questions or concerns you may have through emails or calls to our district office.

The official decision to make this change will be made by the School Board at the end of February. In the meantime, we want to gather and share information and work through challenges so a positive recommendation can be made to the School Board.

  • Should the School Board approve the plan to move forward, this process will be guided by a Steering Committee, comprised of administrators, staff and community members. If you would like to be considered for this committee, please express your interest at www.sno.wednet.edu/interestform.
  • Should the reconfiguration be officially approved, there will be a need to redefine our highly capable program. The process for this will be driven by a committee comprised of administrators, staff, and community members. If you would like to be considered for this committee, please express your interest at www.sno.wednet.edu/interestform.

This is a significant change for our district, and we believe it's important to involve our parents/guardians in this all-important reconfiguration. We are just beginning this exploration, and your input is crucial in overcoming the challenges of this change. We value your thoughts and opinions, and we want decisions to reflect the best interests of our students and families.

We appreciate your ongoing support as we work together to enhance the educational experience for our students. Thank you for being an integral part of our school community, and we look forward to your valuable input in the coming months.

Thanks,
Kent


The Why

The Snohomish School District is recommending the reconfiguration of the elementary and middle school grade level structure. The reconfiguration would move 6th grade to the middle school creating K-5 elementary schools and 6-8 middle schools beginning fall 2025. This change is driven by the academic and developmental advantages for our students:

  • Enhanced middle school experience: The intent of a 6-8 middle school structure is to create a more meaningful, three-year educational experience. This approach provides the time and resources to develop a culture tailored to the specific needs of middle school students.
  • Curriculum expertise: This reconfiguration allows for expanded subject offerings, with teachers who are experts in their content areas, such as science, English language arts, social studies, and electives. For those excelling in mathematics, advanced courses, such as algebra and geometry, become readily accessible, ensuring that no student's potential is left untapped.
  • Elective opportunities: This transition offers access to a broader range of electives, such as, choir, band, art, family and consumer science, and STEM-like subjects such as computer science. These electives enrich the educational experience, offering a broader horizon for students to explore and cultivate their talents. The value of creating a spark in our students cannot be understated as it infuses their school experience with real-world relevance.
  • Increased engagement: The reconfiguration paves the way for greater student participation in school-sponsored clubs and after school programs. This promotes a well-rounded middle school experience, allowing our students to develop social, physical, and creative skills, in addition to their academic pursuits.

Snohomish School District must continuously adapt to meet our students’ changing needs. Creating a three-year middle school environment that aligns with our district five-year Strategic Plan and the physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development of our students provides the best opportunities for them to thrive. Recognizing the crucial role that middle school plays in preparing students for high school and beyond, this reconfiguration helps ensure that our students receive the support and resources they need to succeed.


Timeline
You are invited to join us at the meetings and opportunities below to learn more about the district's possible middle school reconfiguration. Community meetings and School Board meetings are open to all, regardless of which school you or your child attend or where you live within the Snohomish School District community.

  • December 8, 2023 – Friday: All staff Zoom to share middle school information
  • December 8, 2023 – Friday: Community information release
  • January 4, 2024 – February 13, 2024: Schedule staff meetings at each individual school
  • January 9, 2024 – Tuesday at 6 p.m.: Community meeting at Valley View Middle School
  • January 10, 2024 – Wednesday at 6 p.m.: School Board agenda informational item
    • This presentation will provide the details of the proposal, along with going over the timeline and FAQs.
  • January 16, 2024 – Tuesday at 6 p.m.: Community meeting at Centennial Middle School
  • January 24, 2024 – Wednesday at 6 p.m.: School Board agenda informational item February 14, 2024 – Wednesday at 6 p.m.: School Board agenda informational item
  • February 28, 2024 – Wednesday at 6 p.m.: School Board recommendation action item

If the School Board approves the proposed reconfiguration, the goal would be to implement in fall 2025.