QUINCY -- A K-5 staffing plan approved this week by the Quincy School Board provides more support for staff, students and families.
The plan for certified staff -- developed by central office administrators and the five new K-5 principals with staff input -- outlines the basic structure slated to be in place for the 2018-19 year:
• One principal and two school administration managers, one focused on academics and one on social-emotional needs, for each of the buildings with about 600 students.
• Four classrooms of each grade level in six "neighborhoods" per building.
• Two to four self-contained special education classrooms per building.
• Daily physical education for K-5 students.
• Music for K-5, with art and accelerated programs available in fourth and fifth grade.
The plan also addresses the need for more classroom and social-emotional support; one student support and family liaison per building will provide classroom-level support for students.
"Some students will come to school not ready to learn. We don't want them to come out of the classroom. We want them to be in the classroom. That's where you learn best," said Cindy Crow, North 12th site principal. "We also heard at boundary forums that families and the community are concerned the schools are so far away from where they live. This person can help build a bridge between the community, the school and the home."
Each building's social-emotional SAM will do much of the work done by current Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports coaches to make sure most students are socially and emotionally ready to learn and provide professional development for the whole staff and in the classroom.
In addition, the plan looks to provide a good support system for staff.
"We know some staff members are going to face class sizes they haven't faced in the past, face a percentage of poverty they haven't faced in the past, different demographics," Crow said.
What the plan doesn't do is reduce class sizes, "so that makes us think about what to do to support the four teachers in each grade level," said Jim Sohn, Baldwin site principal.
"We will have to be creative, look at transfers," said Brian Trowbridge, Monroe site principal. "We're always going to have transfer requests between buildings for day care reasons. We have some control on how we spread out those transfer requests so we can try to keep things equal across the five buildings, but we're still working with what we have, the 20 classrooms."
Still to be determined is which special education programs, beyond co-teaching and resource, will be offered in each building.
"It varies now building to building and will continue to vary a little bit, yet we'll make sure to line up kids with the type of support they need," 48th Street site Principal Melanie Schrand said.
Sohn said building offerings in special education will be based on the administrative team.
"What are our strengths? What program will be the best fit for the three of us to man and disperse to our staff?" he said.
Each grade level neighborhood has an instructional support room, providing "some flexibility how we want to place different supports in each area," Trowbridge said.
The plan shifts staffing needs from the classroom -- with 120 certified teachers compared with 131 now -- to additional certified and special education roles. Although not addressed in this plan, the number of paraeducators likely will drop because more people are needed across 10 schools rather than five.
"The requirement is to keep everything (full-time-equivalent) neutral. The number of staff that we have now is the number of staff we have going forward," Superintendent Roy Webb said.
The first step in implementing the plan will be hiring the SAMs and surveying staff, then placing people into positions. The Quincy Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Staff will take a look at the placements before the final plan goes to staff, and there will be an appeal process.
"The best thing we can do is make teachers happy. If teachers are happy and excited to go into a new facility, I really think it will be a better climate and better situation," Webb said. "We'll try to make as many teachers happy as possible but still look out for the team at the new location."