Last year, residents of the Liverpool Central School District feared that they might lose an elementary school as the result of a study conducted by Castallo and Silky Consultants that examined the possible options for reorganizing elementary and middle schools in the district. While district officials ruled out that possibility, there was still a chance that things would change. The district revealed in late March, however, that the current configuration would remain in place.
"We decided to take a step back and look at the recommendations," said Maureen Patterson, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the district. "We had to examine whether to go ahead with the reconfiguration and whether we had the community's support."
The K through 8 Reconfiguration Study began late in the summer of 2005, when the board authorized the study, hoping to improve the quality of middle-level education in Liverpool, and appointed the advisory committee, in which all schools were represented. In December of 2005, the committee held its first organizational meeting. Throughout the next three months, the committee met monthly to review and organize the data collected by Castallo and Silky. All meetings were open to the public. They explored their options over the last two months, holding the three community forums at each of the district's middle schools. In October, the consultants recommended that the district shift to a K-5 elementary/6-8 model and close Liverpool Elementary School, turning it into a middle school annex. After vehement opposition from the community, the board scrapped the idea and decided to look at other options.
Looking at options
Patterson, along with Director of Secondary Education Tim Ryan and Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Ellen Kuno, looked at the curriculum requirements for fifth through eighth grade as well as state education requirements. While there would be no building reconfiguration, the team wanted to know if it would be feasible to move some of the middle school requirements -- courses like technology, health, foreign languages and family and consumer science -- from seventh and eighth grades down to fifth or sixth.