George, Iowa — When George-Little Rock students start school for the 2020-2021 school year, there will be some changes as to who goes where.
Interim superintendent Patrick O’Donnell tells us that the George-Little Rock School Board approved a realignment plan recently.
(as said:)”Right now we currently operate three buildings. In George, we have a K-3 & a 9-12 and at Little Rock, we have a 4-8. We actually have — according to the state — we have [what’s] considered two elementary [schools] because fourth and fifth grade at Little Rock is considered elementary. What we’re doing is we’re going to have K-5 at Little Rock which will be the elementary and then we’ll have 6-12 at George. We’ll move into the high school with 6-12 and the elementary building in George will then become a daycare and a preschool. We’re looking at potentially a weight room, central office, and technology coordinator over in the current George Elementary building.”
He tells us how that will improve the situation.
(as said:)”It will provide our teachers with a better mode of collaboration as we move in to ramp up our professional development teachers’ training going forward and also have teachers that are in the same level — and by level, I mean primary, intermediate, middle school and high school — that are having professional conversations that they were unable to have before due to travel time.”
O’Donnell says he doesn’t have the complete history as to why things are the way they are today, but he says it stemmed from having two complete elementary schools in the past, with one in each town.
He tells us about the timeline.
(as said:)”When we get into June the plan is to start looking at helping teachers that are moving — helping them pack up then move things for them get them to their new spots and then help them unpack. And so that’ll be quite a process that’s going to be in June and hopefully, by maybe the first week of July we will have had the opportunity to get all the materials moved, have those rooms that are in need of deep cleaning cleaned thoroughly. We’re going to put in new carpet [and] concrete at both sites. We’re also putting in new windows at the Little Rock building. So there’s a lot of things going on as we move to make those learning spaces more effective.”
As far as operating costs, O’Donnell tells us he doesn’t think there will be much extra cost besides a little transportation cost for students. On the other hand, there won’t be as much travel by teachers for them to reimburse. He says he thinks they will be better able to use their resources after the realignment.
Meanwhile, George-Little Rock officials have decided that students will not be returning to school on April 1st as was previously considered. The new anticipated return date is April 14, 2020, assuming the COVID-19 conditions allow it.