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Winds of change blowing in NKSD

When classes begin Sept. 5, changes will be in the air for the North Kitsap School District.

High schools will house students from ninth grade through 12th grade, middle schools will have students enrolled between sixth and eighth grade and elementary schools will have students from kindergarten through fifth grade walking through their hallways.

The subtle changes in store are a slight alterations from previous years at the district, but the act of adding one grade at the high school level and removing one from elementary schools is expected to assist the NKSD as it works to accommodate students and maintain a high standard of education.

The transition not only affects students, but teachers across the district who may also be switching schools, or teaching a different age group of children than the one they’re accustomed to.

Art instructor James Andrews is one of those teachers making the switch from Kingston Junior High to Kingston High School this year.

“There’s definitely going to be some challenges but the district is up to it,” he said. “The NKSD has excellent staff that will deal well with all of the changes happening. All of the employees at the district are very flexible and focused on the needs of students. That’s what its all about.”

Andrews isn’t alone as a teacher in transition as North Kitsap 2006-07 Teacher of the Year award winner Bill Thompson will make the move from Poulsbo Junior High’s science department to North Kitsap High School’s science offices. Thompson taught at PJH for 12 years.

“I decided to move up to the high school. With the move of the ninth grade up to the high school, I wanted to make the change. I am more suited for teaching high school kids,” he said.

While Thompson is eagerly anticipating the transition, he said it will be tad different than teaching at PJH.

“The biggest change will be the curriculum. I have been part of the same kind curriculum at PJH for the past five years. The curriculum focused on physics and earth science,” he said. “This year at North Kitsap High School, the curriculum focuses on physics and chemistry. It will be a good change to start from scratch again.”

Thompson said the reconfiguration of the grades benefits elementary school students the most.

“I think all of the changes are great because it’s going to make class sizes at the elementary level smaller,” he said. “When it comes to student learning it’s extremely important for elementary students to have those small class sizes so they get the one-on-one attention they need.”

Suquamish Elementary Schools music instructor Tammie Rabura said the reconfiguration of the grade levels will assist throughout the district.

“From a child development standpoint, I think it’s good that it’s going to be kindergarten through fifth grade for elementary schools,” she said. “I am excited about the changes. I am glad ninth graders will be at the high school because ninth grade is when it starts to count towards their high school transcripts. Having them in the high school building will be great.”

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