Manchester Parents Get Ready For Split Schedule [AUDIO]
It'll take some flexibility from parents, teachers, and students, but administrators from Manchester Middle and High Schools are confident about having grades 6-8 and 9-12 under one roof while remediation is done at the Middle School.
On Monday the third is a series of informational meetings for parents and students was held in the High School auditorium. Manchester Superintendent David Trethaway was joined by Manchester High School Principal Alex George as well as other administration and BOE members.
While Manchester Middle School will be undergoing remediation after high levels of mold were found on the first floor of the building, students from both schools will be in the High School building and operating on a split schedule.
George explained the plan is for high school students to be in school from seven in the morning until about noon, after which the middle school students would use parts of the building from noon until five in the evening.
Principal George explained to make the logistics work, lunches were removed from the schedule and class periods were cut five minutes from forty three to thirty nine minutes. Breakfasts would continue to be served and lunches would still be provided for athletes and Vocational Program students who have an additional period due to the program.
"If they're getting out at two o clock and they don't provide a bus home, my child has no way to participate in sports. " says parent Latisha Beats. She notes even though it's temporary, the schedule change is going to cause some havoc with the family schedule.
"A lot, like eighty percent. I work an hour away from here so I don't work local and I have to work in order to maintain my home.
Numerous other parents expressed concern over the split schedule. Notably many parents who worry the all important time for college prep will be affected.
"My son is a junior" explained done parent, "you always hear this is the critical year for them, and I'm just concerned with this compressed scheduling even though they're just saying it's just five minutes it's still going to impact them. "
Manchester High School English Teacher Tracey Raimondo believes students won't be losing any valuable education time.
"Clearly it's not as wonderful as if you have a full period but I think the educational impact will be minimal if the time the middle school is out of commission is limited."
Teachers, clerical personnel, and maintenance staff from both schools will also be under one roof, with the middle schooler's getting their own wing. However George notes there won't be too much interaction for parents to worry about since Middle School students will be bussed in at 11:45 am and will have homeroom in the auditorium or cafeteria. Once the high school students are dismissed the middle school students will go to their assigned classes while athletes and Vocational program students go into the cafeteria for lunch.
George notes that while high school students take their time coming into the building during the mornings by the end of the day "the building clears out surprisingly fast."
Practices for Sports will start at 12:50, and parents will be responsible for picking up their child once it's over. Administrator's explained busing home for athletes was discontinued due to budgetary reasons, however numerous parents complained that while before they could pick up student athletes after work, with practices ending so much earlier many of them would be stranded.
Superintendent Trethaway acknowledged the concerns and said they would try and see if temporary busing could be established while the schools are in a split schedule.
Extra help for all subjects will still be held after school, however Principal George says it will likely be done with each subject getting its own day (ie Math on Mondays, History on Tuesdays, etc). Late buses for extra help classes will still run.
Superintendent Trethaway was not able to give much new information on the mold situation. However he said the second floor was able to be saved and starting Tuesday, crews from Serve Pro (the company which handled remediation for Barnegat this summer) will begin cleaning. He notes carpet, ceiling tiles, cork board, and anything that can possibly harbor mold will be thrown away. According the Superintendent they are still waiting on an estimate of the damage, but the School District's insurance will cover up to a million dollars in damage. If the amount exceeds that amount, money would need to be borrowed from the budget.
There's no date on when the middle school will reopen, however, Trethaway hopes it will be in a few months. News about the cleanup will be posted on Manchester School District's website.