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NKSD’s scope of work goes well beyond high school

NORTH KITSAP — The changes being made to North Kitsap School District over the course of this decade have implications for every child in North Kitsap — and those changes aren’t just focused around a high school in Kingston.

The 2001 bond, which provided $60,897,500 to the district, heads up eight different projects that will re-align, alter, and provide a face-lift for a district whose aging buildings and overcrowded classrooms were in desperate need of assistance.

“The goal was not to build a high school,” said NKSD Superintendent Gene Medina. “The notion grew out of a review of the (North Kitsap) demographic area and an understanding of class size.”

The goal for the school board of directors, Medina added, was 18 students to one teacher.

THE BOND “TRICKLES DOWN”

The school district’s overall plan is to have a high school in Kingston accommodate a grade 9-12 system, with existing North Kitsap High School picking up the extra ninth grade as well. Kingston and Poulsbo junior high schools will maintain enrollment size and simply shift down one grade, becoming grades 6-8 middle schools. The result of the change: all seven district elementaries — Vinland, Breidablik, Poulsbo, Suquamish, Gordon, Wolfle and Pearson — will be able to drop sixth grade. For the district, this means smaller class size and less reliance on temporary fixes, like portable classrooms.

“By building a high school,we’re allowing elementaries to be smaller,” said School Board President Catherine Ahl. “(The bond) is going to trickle all the way down.”

The change from junior high school to the middle school format is actually a return to its original configuration of 14 years ago, when Kingston Junior High School was constructed and North Kitsap Middle School became Poulsbo Junior High School. Long-time principal at PJH and now-Executive Director of Student Support Services Gregg Epperson is helping lead the shift and make the change as smooth as possible.

“This (change) is comprehensive,” Epperson said. “There is much work in the capital facilities, with the middle school change and every aspect of the district — this is an opportunity to line everything up at the same time.”

Across the nation, there has been a shift to middle school configuration since the 1960s but Washington has been slow to make the change, according to a report from Washington State’s Superintendent’s office. But Epperson said that while middle schools have been proven to offer a variety of positive aspects in education, mainly in increased diversity and engagement in student learning, the change has more to do with adjusting to the district’s needs.

“My belief is that regardless of the grade configuration, we focus our success on our kids,” Epperson said.

The district has also begun, through an attendance boundary committee, work on how enrollment will be affected at each of the school’s levels of education. With the addition of an additional grade at the high school level, projected enrollment at NKHS and the yet-to-be-built high school in Kingston would spike from about 1,629 students in 2005 to 2,258 in 2006. The junior high to middle level transition would keep the three-grade Poulsbo and Kingston schools at their current levels.

At the elementary level, it is projected that the 3,604 students enrolled in K-6 education in 2005 would be reduced in 2006, with the opening of Kingston High School, to around 3,021 students enrolled in K-5. A 600-student reduction means each of the seven elementaries can be potentially reduced by 85 students apiece.

SMALL SCHOOLS

At the high school level, a new system of education will help drive down class size and create better student to teacher relationships, district officials said. Known as “small schools,” the program’s goal is to move away from what proponents have said is the current model of “assembly-line education” — push as many students through as possible. Small schools integrate different subjects and keep students with a core group of teachers through their high school careers.

North Kitsap High School’s small school model, named “Polaris International,” will begin in the high school’s revamped “H” building, when it opens for the 2003-04 school year to anywhere from 220 to 350 kids. Polaris candidates are randomly selected to participate if they chose to be placed in the lottery.

When North Kitsap’s new secondary school opens, all 800 students will be enrolled in a small school — 200 per grade.

BOND’S OVERALL EFFECT

About $87.6 million — which includes the $60.1 million bond, state matches and other funding such as impact fees — will be spent on the district’s dramatic alterations.

Poulsbo, Suquamish and Pearson Elementary Schools, as well as North Kitsap High School and Poulsbo Junior High School (soon to be Poulsbo Middle School) will each receive vast modernizations — upgrades to earthquake and fire standards, new heating, plumbing and ventilation systems, new technology systems and improvements in appearance.

Poulsbo Elementary construction has already begun and will be completed this year with Suquamish beginning this year through 2005 and the Pearson project finishing entirely this year, according to the district’s capital projects schedule.

The new high school in Kingston will begin construction in August to be completed in 2006, at which time, major work can begin remodeling North Kitsap High School’s aging facilities.

Small improvement projects, such as the addition of a multi-purpose room at Spectrum Community School and the NKSD Horticulture Site, will also run through 2005. By JOSH FARLEY

Staff Writer

NORTH KITSAP — The changes being made to North Kitsap School District over the course of this decade have implications for every child in North Kitsap — and those changes aren’t just focused around a high school in Kingston.

The 2001 bond, which provided $60,897,500 to the district, heads up eight different projects that will re-align, alter, and provide a face-lift for a district whose aging buildings and overcrowded classrooms were in desperate need of assistance.

“The goal was not to build a high school,” said NKSD Superintendent Gene Medina. “The notion grew out of a review of the (North Kitsap) demographic area and an understanding of class size.”

The goal for the school board of directors, Medina added, was 18 students to one teacher.

THE BOND “TRICKLES DOWN”

The school district’s overall plan is to have a high school in Kingston accommodate a grade 9-12 system, with existing North Kitsap High School picking up the extra ninth grade as well. Kingston and Poulsbo junior high schools will maintain enrollment size and simply shift down one grade, becoming grades 6-8 middle schools. The result of the change: all seven district elementaries — Vinland, Breidablik, Poulsbo, Suquamish, Gordon, Wolfle and Pearson — will be able to drop sixth grade. For the district, this means smaller class size and less reliance on temporary fixes, like portable classrooms.

“By building a high school,we’re allowing elementaries to be smaller,” said School Board President Catherine Ahl. “(The bond) is going to trickle all the way down.”

The change from junior high school to the middle school format is actually a return to its original configuration of 14 years ago, when Kingston Junior High School was constructed and North Kitsap Middle School became Poulsbo Junior High School. Long-time principal at PJH and now-Executive Director of Student Support Services Gregg Epperson is helping lead the shift and make the change as smooth as possible.

“This (change) is comprehensive,” Epperson said. “There is much work in the capital facilities, with the middle school change and every aspect of the district — this is an opportunity to line everything up at the same time.”

Across the nation, there has been a shift to middle school configuration since the 1960s but Washington has been slow to make the change, according to a report from Washington State’s Superintendent’s office. But Epperson said that while middle schools have been proven to offer a variety of positive aspects in education, mainly in increased diversity and engagement in student learning, the change has more to do with adjusting to the district’s needs.

“My belief is that regardless of the grade configuration, we focus our success on our kids,” Epperson said.

The district has also begun, through an attendance boundary committee, work on how enrollment will be affected at each of the school’s levels of education. With the addition of an additional grade at the high school level, projected enrollment at NKHS and the yet-to-be-built high school in Kingston would spike from about 1,629 students in 2005 to 2,258 in 2006. The junior high to middle level transition would keep the three-grade Poulsbo and Kingston schools at their current levels.

At the elementary level, it is projected that the 3,604 students enrolled in K-6 education in 2005 would be reduced in 2006, with the opening of Kingston High School, to around 3,021 students enrolled in K-5. A 600-student reduction means each of the seven elementaries can be potentially reduced by 85 students apiece.

SMALL SCHOOLS

At the high school level, a new system of education will help drive down class size and create better student to teacher relationships, district officials said. Known as “small schools,” the program’s goal is to move away from what proponents have said is the current model of “assembly-line education” — push as many students through as possible. Small schools integrate different subjects and keep students with a core group of teachers through their high school careers.

North Kitsap High School’s small school model, named “Polaris International,” will begin in the high school’s revamped “H” building, when it opens for the 2003-04 school year to anywhere from 220 to 350 kids. Polaris candidates are randomly selected to participate if they chose to be placed in the lottery.

When North Kitsap’s new secondary school opens, all 800 students will be enrolled in a small school — 200 per grade.

BOND’S OVERALL EFFECT

About $87.6 million — which includes the $60.1 million bond, state matches and other funding such as impact fees — will be spent on the district’s dramatic alterations.

Poulsbo, Suquamish and Pearson Elementary Schools, as well as North Kitsap High School and Poulsbo Junior High School (soon to be Poulsbo Middle School) will each receive vast modernizations — upgrades to earthquake and fire standards, new heating, plumbing and ventilation systems, new technology systems and improvements in appearance.

Poulsbo Elementary construction has already begun and will be completed this year with Suquamish beginning this year through 2005 and the Pearson project finishing entirely this year, according to the district’s capital projects schedule.

The new high school in Kingston will begin construction in August to be completed in 2006, at which time, major work can begin remodeling North Kitsap High School’s aging facilities.

Small improvement projects, such as the addition of a multi-purpose room at Spectrum Community School and the NKSD Horticulture Site, will also run through 2005.

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