Two of Stamford’s middle schools may be taking on almost 200 extra students for the next school year. In an effort to alleviate some of the overcrowding in the City’s elementary schools, the administration has proposed a plan to add fifth grade classrooms to Rippowam and Scofield Magnet Middle schools.
“Our goal is to have 80 students for Scofield and about 100 students for Rippowam,” says Michael Fernandes, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools. “We can do somewhat less than that but we really want to make it a program where there’s a number of students at each of the schools so it’s a viable program.”
Parents and students got a closer look into the program Monday, with tours at Rippowam and Scofield followed by an information session at night. Parents say it’s something to consider.
“You really want your student to stay at their elementary school and experience what elementary school is all about,” says parent Julie Nelson. “But yet to come to the middle school, especially a school like Scofield, and have that opportunity early on is something to think about.”
“It’s definitely an exciting option that we didn’t consider,” says parent Lisa Clements. “Last year obviously this was not something that was on the table, and when I first heard it I was not interested but then it grew on me a little bit.”
Fifth graders will be chosen for the program through a lottery process, with preference given to students at overpopulated elementary schools. Those chosen would attend the middle schools through eight grade.
“The students will be in an isolated part of the building,” Fernandes says. “It will be slightly different for each middle school, for Scofield and Rippowam, but we created a smaller school within a school for the fifth graders so that they are near eachother.”
Fernandes says there are many benefits to the program.
“These students will be offered Spanish as another academic offering,” he says. “They’ll be in a teaming model which means one of the teachers that they have will teach math/science, the other teacher will teach the language arts/social studies, which is a model that’s closer to the middle school model; it’s a nice bridge or transition for them going to middle school.”
“I’ve know this to be successful in other parts of the country, where Grade Five has fit right into a middle school climate and I know we can do it right here in Stamford as well,” says Donna Gardner, Assistant Principal at Scofield Magnet.
Lottery applications for the program are due Monday, March 3. For more information, visit www.stamfordpublicschools.org