Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Full-Day Kindergarten and Enrollment Management Transition
Frequently Asked Questions - Updated January 2017
Q: What is the goal of Rush-Henrietta's school reconfiguration?
A: By reconfiguring our schools, the Rush-Henrietta Central School District will be able to offer full-day kindergarten, manage future student enrollment, preserve our successful small-class-size initiative, balance the size of our schools, and meet the changing academic, emotional, and social needs of all students. In addition, we can address many concerns brought to us by parents and teachers during the past 15 years.
Q: Why is full-day kindergarten important?
A: With the increasingly high standards expected of students, children in kindergarten are being asked to do and learn what children in first grade did just a few short years ago. This is difficult to accomplish in 2.5 hours each day, which is what our kindergarten program now offers. By offering full-day kindergarten, we will provide hundreds of additional hours of learning during a child's first year of school. This will help set the stage for future success after high school.There are more than 700 school districts in the state and Rush-Henrietta is one of less than 20 that does not offer a full-day program.We are excited that this soon will change!
Q: What are the space concerns that prompted this reconfiguration?
A: For 15 years, the Rush-Henrietta Instructional Space Committee has monitored enrollment growth and trends at each of our schools to ensure we have enough space to maintain our small class sizes. Many of the committee’s recommendations – such as converting gym locker rooms into new classroom space and making minor attendance-area changes – have been acted on by the Board of Education.This worked well until three years ago. At that time, the space committee – which includes parent representatives from each school – reported that a more comprehensive approach was needed to ensure we could protect the small-class-size initiative. Committee members realized that, by 2019, the district will not have enough classroom space to maintain small class sizes and manage future enrollment growth in our elementary schools. At the Board of Education’s request, the committee recommended solutions to the problem and put what it deemed the best option up for a public vote. Residents approved the board's Full-Day Kindergarten and Enrollment Management proposal in February 2015.
Q: How will our school structure be changing?
A: The transition to a new school structure will begin to take effect in Fall 2017. Rush-Henrietta will have four K-3 schools (Crane, Fyle, Leary, and Winslow), two 4-6 schools (Sherman and Vollmer), and two 7-9 schools (Burger and Roth). The Senior High School will remain a 10-12 school. You can see the new school start and end times for our schools on this page.
Q: Does our community support this change in our schools?
A: Overwhelmingly, in fact. During a February 2015 public vote, the proposal was approved by 75 percent of the residents who cast a ballot.
Q: How does this proposal directly benefit students and families?
A: In addition to providing the space required to offer a full-day kindergarten program, this alternative would allow us to bolster programs and services for all students. Here are some of the highlights:
- Provides long-term solution to classroom space crunch
- Preserves successful small-class-size initiative
- Creates schools of equal size and scope
- Allows district to offer full-day kindergarten
- Offers wrap-around care service for K-6
- Creates new enrichment period for students at 4-6
- Gives fourth graders opportunity to take band
- Expands counseling services for younger students
- Provides for course acceleration and high school credits
- Offers more opportunities for sports, clubs, and organizations
A: Yes, it does. Redistricting of attendance areas is necessary to ensure that schools are equitable both in terms of their physical space and number of students. This will allow the district to redistrict in such a way that changing attendance areas should not be needed again for many, many years. If this plan was not approved by the community, the attendance area changes likely would have been even more noticeable.
Q: How much will this cost? What is the impact on school taxes?
A: The school reconfiguration will cost about $19 million. The district has saved the money in reserve funds, so there would be no impact on school taxes.
Q: I don't want my child to end up attending three different schools in three different years. What will the district do to prevent this?
A: During our many community forums, we heard from some parents concerned about potential issues regarding transitioning from one school to another. In particular, they wondered if their child would be in a scenario where they would finish the 2016-2017 school year at one school, move to another for the 2017-2018 school year, and find themselves at a third school the following year. We heard these concerns and have done our best to make sure this does not occur. Our goal is to make this a positive experience for all students.A s part of this process, we have been working diligently on our student transition plan, which was approved by the Board of Education in July. As promised, this plan provides school choice options for parents who want to avoid having their child attend a different school for a single year during the transition, and/or to avoid having their children attend different elementary or middle schools at the same time. This affects a small number of students, but the families that are affected have been contacted via mail regarding which school their child will attend.
Q: Will the Rush-Henrietta School Age Child Care Program (RHSACCP) continue to operate under the proposal?A: Yes, that is our intent. People who use the RHSACCP child care services today should expect the same services to be available if voters approve this proposal. The exact details, such as location, won't be solidified until later because we will want to study the demand. To read more about our plans for wrap-around child care at schools, click here.Q: When will we know what teachers are going where and teaching at what grade level (if that has changed from their current location/position)?
Teachers were informed in Spring 2016 about their school placement for September 2017. Kindergarten teachers will be informed about their assignment by February 1. By March 1, all elementary teachers will be informed of their grade level assignment. Junior High School teachers will know their grade level and/or course assignments by April 1. Senior High School teachers will be notified per the usual timeline (late spring following course tallies). This information is not shared formally with parents because enrollment changes and staffing changes (retirements, relocations, leave of absence requests, etc.) can result in teacher placement changes during the late spring and summer. As usual, parents will be informed of their child’s teachers in August.
Q: Why did we have to reconfigure so that intermediate school starts so late?
The later start time for intermediate schools was caused by a combination of transportation constraints and expanded services. Intermediate schools will offer students opportunities to participate in student clubs and organizations, intramural sports, and music ensembles, outside of the regular school day. To do this, an additional bus run is needed at the end of the student activity period. The second bus run could not be scheduled until the junior high schools and Senior High School bus runs were completed. Hence, the need for a later start time.
To make it possible for intermediate school students to participate in both music ensembles and other student activities, music ensembles will be scheduled on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before the start of the school day (8:10 to 9:10 a.m.). All other student activities will be scheduled at the end of the school day (3:40 to 4:20 p.m.), when a late bus run can be provided.
Students participating in a music ensemble will ride the bus transporting students to the primary school in their attendance area. After dropping students at the primary school, this bus will drop music ensemble students at their intermediate school. Only students scheduled for music ensemble instruction will be allowed to ride these buses.
To accommodate working parents impacted by this student activity and transportation schedule, before and after school child care services will be offered at both intermediate schools. For more information about these child care services, please click here.
Q: When will there be some kind of schedule for before and after extracurricular activities for intermediate schools?
This information is available on the district website and was shared in a recent mailing to our families. For information about music ensembles, please click here.Q: What are the chances the district is able to hire 25 new bus drivers by June 2017?
The district is aggressively advertising for new bus drivers. In only six weeks, we have recruited nine new drivers. We believe this trend will continue during the next six months. The district is also considering consolidating transportation services for students attending out-of-attendance area child care programs. Consolidating these services means fewer drivers will be needed. The district is confident that with aggressive recruiting of new drivers and service consolidation, a sufficient number of good bus drivers will be ready to safely transport students in September.
Q: What if I have a question about what will be happening in Fall 2017?