MILLINOCKET, Maine — Sixth-graders will move to Granite Street School and the complex they once used will be renamed Stearns Junior-Senior High School in September under a plan school leaders have approved, they said Wednesday.
The Millinocket School Committee voted 4-0 on Tuesday to approve the plan, which school officials said would increase pupil and student achievement and improve teacher instruction by allowing for more mixing of classes in grades seven through 12 and kindergarten through grade six. Committee member Kevin Gregory was absent.
“The plan is mainly [beneficial in] economics and efficiency,” Millinocket school committee chairman Arnold Hopkins said. “Now we can interchange teachers between the middle school and high school. It will give us more flexibility and student opportunities.”
For example, seventh- and eight-grade students will have more opportunities to take high-school-level classes than when Millinocket Middle School and Stearns were considered separate entities, Hopkins said.
The move also makes sense, Hopkins said, because most middle and high school teachers are certified to teach grades seven through 12, while grade-school teachers are certified for kindergarten to grade six. Grouping pupils and students the same way creates flexibility, he said.
A proposal Granite Street Principal Linda MacDonald submitted to the committee outlined several benefits of the plan. They include:
? Sixth-graders at Granite having more opportunity to learn and work with the trained literacy staff there.
? Increased scheduling flexibility in grades seven to 12, including the creation of block schedules that would allow juniors and seniors more access to Region III industrial arts programs.
? Greater teaching staff cohesiveness, and more opportunities for teachers to assist pupils and students.
The plan’s only immediate financial impact is found in the costs of relocating desks and library materials from Millinocket Middle School to Granite Street, and that should be slight, Hopkins said.
The committee also is examining combining the middle and high school libraries in one large room or area, Hopkins said, but no decisions have been made.