Campuses across Cleburne ISD may be changing in the fall.
The district is considering the possibility of new grade configurations, which would go into effect for the 2020-21 year.
Elementary schools would return to pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, with fifth and sixth grade at Smith Middle School and seventh and eighth grade at Wheat Middle School. The high school would be ninth through 12th grade.
The proposed changes will be presented to the CISD board of trustees at the Feb. 18 meeting.
“We will be presenting this concept to the board this month and are currently collecting input,” Superintendent Kyle Heath said. “As a district we have growth capacity concerns. This proposal would potentially address some of these needs.”
The configurations were first used in the fall of 2001, when Cleburne Middle School opened. It is now Smith Middle School.
When the new Adams, Irving and Santa Fe elementary schools opened in 2007, fifth grade was returned to the elementary level and two middle schools were established, housing sixth through eighth grade.
Heath met with elementary and middle school principals on Thursday morning to seek their thoughts and feedback. Teachers, parents and students in grades sixth- through 12th serving on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee will also be asked for feedback.
Heath also cites the positive impact the new grade configurations could have on academics.
“Our bilingual program currently stops at the fifth grade,” Heath said. “We could, with this proposal, make the program available to all sixth- through eighth-grade bilingual students. The fifth- and sixth-grade campus, which would be located at Smith, would be run more like an elementary school. We think this would better meet our students’ academic, social and emotional needs.”
With Wheat serving as the middle school campus, eighth-graders could have available access to Career and Technical Education and the after-school Jacket Academy programs at the high school.
Heath also sees a great positive in the benefit of bringing students together before they promote to middle school, and the return to a “one middle school” community.
“I believe this could strengthen the bond between our Yellow Jackets,” Heath said. “So many of our students already know each other as participants in the variety of programs for youth we have in the community. These kids also go to church together. But now they could be together as classmates, beginning in the fifth grade. They could be teammates in middle school in athletics, the fine arts and UIL academics.”
The new plan may entail new start and dismissal times at all CISD campuses to assist parents with drop-off and pick-up, as well as modifying some of the bus routes.
“As with anything we do in our school district,” Heath said, “Doing what is right for kids is the driver behind every decision.”