All members of Johnstown’s Long Range Planning Committee were present at its second meeting on Monday evening, February 25, undeterred by the high winds and blowing snow plaguing the area.
Gathered in the Pleasant Avenue library, the group first reviewed additional information pertaining to the enrollment figures originally presented at their January 14 meeting. They then moved on to the evening’s intended purpose, an overview of the district’s instructional program.
Consultants Castallo and Silky, LLC began by presenting information on common grade configuration patterns in New York State, noting that a general conclusion of most researchers is that it is “what” a district does with the grade configuration, not “which” grade configuration it uses, that determines student success. The committee then heard about common issues encountered in grade re-configuration, including length of bus ride for students, impact on parent involvement, grouping students of similar developmental levels, interaction of students, and the number of transitions.
Further discussion focused on Johnstown’s current school/grade organization, student and teacher daily start and end times, current elementary class sizes, recent elementary student ELA and math performance (including a comparison of Johnstown student performance to both Fulton County and NYS averages). The group also delved into elementary special area schedules, special education placement, Knox and JHS course offerings, BOCES participation and athletic participation.
Common takeaways from the information presented included that:
- The Princeton Plan grade configuration (K-6, 7-8, 9-12) is a somewhat common arrangement.
- The most common grade configuration of schools in New York and the U.S. is K-5, 6-8, 9-12, although there is no research that indicates that one grade pattern is necessarily better for student learning than another.
- The elementary instructional program is comparable across all thee Johnstown school buildings (Pleasant, Glebe and Warren).
- The junior high school program is typical for a school district of this size. The high school program provides many alternatives for students.
- Class sizes in the junior high and high school are strong.
- There are an extensive number of interscholastic athletic opportunities available to the students in Johnstown.
The next meeting of the Long Range Planning Committee will take place at 6:30 p.m. on April 8 in the Glebe Street Library and will include a district facilities overview. Anyone who is interested may attend and observe the meeting.