Fifth graders’ tearful pleas at Wednesday night’s board meeting were met with a unanimous vote: Roosevelt School would be expanded from K-5 to K-6.
Emphasizing the district's motto of "schools of choice," this Roosevelt expansion is one example of providing more options to students in the district. Roosevelt teaches students through project-based learning, which utilizes long-term more in-depth investigations that teach students critical thinking skills.
Numerous fifth graders from Roosevelt expressed their love for the school in front of the entire board.
“Please expand our school, because it’s awesome,” fifth grader Michelle Bejarano said to the board. “I would not want to have to go to middle school next year and not see all my teachers again.”
Four students even performed a song about why the school should expand to K-6. After the resolution passed, jubilant parents and students could be heard celebrating in the lobby.
This expansion would not cost the district any additional money, and the campus has the space to open the two sixth grade classrooms, according to Superintendent Jan Christensen. It also has the capacity to train the two new teachers in project-based learning, according to the request presented to the board.
With help from the Roosevelt Expansion Committee, Christensen said she studied similar programs in urban districts in Philadelphia and other schools.
“There was no discernible data that clearly said which configuration was best,” she said.
However, she said this expansion did not mean the school would become a K-8 school and that more research would have to take place.
To smooth the transition from Roosevelt into non-project-based learning middle schools, MIT (McKinley Institute of Technology) principal Ray Dawley said he’d be interested in offering a project-based learning track during seventh and eighth grade.