Air Conditioners

The Holyoke Public Schools restructuring plan will shuffle students into middle schools | Rare Techy


HOLYOKE — Wrapping up the first phase of a two-part redistricting plan, Holyoke Public Schools plans to separate sixth- through eighth-grade students from elementary school students who are sent to schools mid fall of 2023.

The most important change is to change the High School of Lt. Clayre P. Sullivan high school serving more than 500 students and vacating the William R. Peck School on Northampton Street. City officials proposed razing Peck School and building a new 550-student high school.

Joseph Metcalf School and the Holyoke STEM Academy on the Dean Campus will become middle schools by 2023, serving 250-300 students each. Sullivan’s school has a 700-student capacity.

The plan also includes redrawing school districts across the city that design schools more like elementary or high school classrooms and expand learning opportunities, such as develop a bilingual program.

The process solicited feedback from 900 conference participants and 450 survey respondents, which will help guide Phase II.

Erin Linville, the district’s chief strategy officer, said Phase I ended on Oct. 28 and was supported by the School Committee. The middle school program does not require charter classes, or unlike Metcalf or Holyoke STEM.

If the state agrees to replace Peck School, there will be little disruption during construction, Linville said.

“Metcalf and Holyoke STEM are working schools. So, we have the same infrastructure,” he said.

Linville said the timing of the new high school is still uncertain.

“The first is to try to reduce transfers for students. The second benefit is that we hope it will help us to move up the timeline to build a new school,” he said.

The School Building Committee will interview architects for the proposed high school starting November 17th.

“We’re trying to be thoughtful and try to understand the needs of the city and the state in making a funding decision,” Linville said.

The district commissioned a study on the Sullivan School transition. In recent years, the doors, windows and roof of Sullivan School were replaced, along with exterior landscaping and new air conditioning.

Future upgrades to Sullivan School include lighting and a new basketball court design. In the meantime, Metcalf School needs year-round restrooms.

Linville said the district has scheduled public hearings where families and stakeholders can review and provide feedback on proposed zoning plans that will determine where a child will go to school. .

“Secondly, we’re asking people what facilities improvements they want to see at Sullivan,” he said, “and how to make the transition easier for students, families and staff.”

Two virtual meetings are scheduled for Nov. 8, one from 9-10 a.m. and one from 3-4 p.m. Another meeting is scheduled for Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. Holyoke School Committee meeting via Zoom.

The region engaged AppGeo, a geographic information systems firm, to participate in public events. A community survey is available until November 14th.

“This new approach combines elements of the three transformational trends that HPS demonstrated earlier this fall,” said Superintendent Anthony Soto. “The majority of people who took the survey and participated in the community discussions were more comfortable with the prospect of Sullivan becoming a high school because of the location, the building and other factors.”


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