Miamisburg elementary school grade banding plan took months to organize

Most students will attend new schools next year.

Most Miamisburg elementary school students will be attending a new school starting next school year.

Key changes include a transition to grade banded buildings and expanded enrollment boundaries, Miamisburg school district said. Specific school allocations will see Bauer, Mark Twain, Bear and Medlar View housing grades K-2 while Jane Chance, Kinder, and Mound will house grades 3-5.

Enrollment boundaries will now encompass partner schools. Multiple disabilities classes will be at Medlar View for students in grades K-2 students and at Jane Chance for the district’s students in grades 3-5. Housing units along Maue Road East of Alexandersville Road to Byers Road will be redistricted to Medlar View and Mound.

Under the reorganization, full-day kindergarten will be offered to all students without a fee.

The changes are the result of an enrollment study, town halls and numerous board work sessions, the district said.

“In March, after having a series of town halls, and also surveying our staff in our community, we decided to pause and do an enrollment study,” Laura Blessing, the district’s superintendent, said Friday. “The reason the recommendation was made ... to do the grade banded (redistricting) was based on the efforts results research of the enrollment study.”

District officials and an enrollment committee met monthly for six consecutive months, toured Ohio schools that had “great banding models” and toured all seven of the district’s elementary schools “just to see how they were arranged and where the growth was happening,” Blessing said.

In addition the district had its transportation department create several mock routes and times and examined the data regarding that, she said.

In the upcoming months, the district will share information about transition events and frequently asked questions to help families prepare for the changes. Updates will be sent through schools, the district office, social media and email. All relevant documents will be available on the “Know the Facts” page of the district’s website.

Blessing said the school reorganization will help remove some of the inequities in class size at Miamisburg elementary schools, which can reach as much as the high 20s in some schools and one classroom that has 32, Blessing said.

Redistricting is expected to keep class sizes at below 25 students, she said.

“We really feel like with the grade banding, we can concentrate larger groups of each grade level and that allows us to spread them out more evenly and allow and keep our class sizes lower,” Blessing said.

Angela Hoffman, who has a daughter in kindergarten at Mark Twain Elementary School, said the rebanding effort is a better solution than the “super-confusing” and seemingly ever-changing options the school district was presenting last school year.

While the new plan will mean “a pretty straightforward setup” for her family, with her daughter switching to Kinder Elementary in third grade, not everyone has it that easy.

“I know some neighbors who are frustrated with it because they have multiple kids and then they’re going to have multiple kids at multiple schools,” she said.

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