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MCW plans grade move

August 1, 2012
Jenn Brookens , Fairmont Sentinel

WELCOME - Administrators at Martin County West have announced plans to move grades to different buildings starting the 2013-2014 school year.

First and second grade will be at Sherburn Elementary; grades 3-6 will be at Trimont Elementary; and grades 7-12 at MCW Junior/Senior High School in Sherburn. The future location of the kindergarten classes in Sherburn, Trimont and Welcome depends on the enrollment numbers in each community.

The administrative offices will also move from the Welcome building to Sherburn Elementary.

According to Superintendent Allison Schmidt, these changes will improve efficiency for staff, and in turn have a positive impact on students.

"We'll see more staff scheduled with kids instead of windshield time," Schmidt said.

Moving the administrative offices from Welcome to Sherburn had been talked about for several years. When discussion on moving grades resumed last year, the timing seemed right.

Declining enrollment has also played a role in the impending moves. In the past, the students could not have comfortably fit in just three buildings.

"These changes come with several benefits for our students, staff and district," Schmidt said. "By moving grade levels, staff members who are currently shared between buildings will have more time to work with students because they will not be traveling between Sherburn and Trimont for classes."

This transition will also allow the school in Trimont to once again have a full-time administrator assigned to that site.

Schmidt had been serving as principal for the Trimont building, along with her duties as superintendent. But with the pending transitions, principal Dale Harbitz will be able to transfer from Sherburn Elementary to the Trimont building.

"The feedback we've gotten so far has been very positive," Schmidt said of the plan. "There's also been some good questions, but mostly from staff regarding who is moving where, and where their classroom would be."

As for the administrative offices leaving the Welcome school, there are no definite plans for the building at this time. Depending on numbers for kindergarten classes on a given year, Welcome could still host its own preschool and kindergarten classes. The school district also leases space to Farm Bureau Management and Southern Plains Education Cooperative, which runs the autism classrooms.

"We're always open," Schmidt said to any potential future plans for the Welcome building. "But if there's specific plans on closing or selling the Welcome building, the answer is no at this time."

A series of meetings will be held in the four Martin County West communities throughout the month. The first meeting will be 6 p.m. Monday at the Martin County West High School in Sherburn. A second meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Dunnell Community Center.

The final two meetings will be 7 p.m. Aug. 20 at the central office building in Welcome and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Martin County West building in Trimont.



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