In a unanimous vote in favor of a recommendation from the Hopkins administration, the Hopkins School Board decided not to pursue a change to the existing grade configuration. The Board will instead explore adding flexibility to learning spaces and time as a means to expanding educational opportunities for students. The vote took place at the March 7 School Board meeting.
“I commend the Board in their work in engaging the community,” said Superintendent John Schultz. “You listened, and you asked me to think about this differently. I’d like to explore how we use our space, time, and experiences outside the classroom and look at the power of technology.”
The Hopkins School Board began studying the issue of shifting to a middle school model in anticipation of the state implementing universal preschool, which would create space issues at the elementary schools. The state has since backed away from this proposal. However, the School Board continued to explore the issue of grade reconfiguration. To determine community support, the Board commissioned two surveys and held two community forums. Both methods revealed opposition to grade reconfiguration.
“We are elected by the community, and we spent time listening to the community, and we realized this was not the right thing,” said Kris Newcomer, Hopkins School Board director. “Sometimes you just have to ask the question.”
As part of the recommendation, the Board will not pursue grade reconfiguration, and will, instead, continue to study how space, time, and instruction can be manipulated to expand learning potential.
“I am so grateful to everyone who came to our hearings,” said Board Chair Wendy Donovan. “We asked the question, and our community showed up and gave us our answer.”