Proposed Grade Alignment Changes

Proposed Grade Alignment Changes
Posted on 04/30/2018
Lincoln Tower Manitowoc Lincoln High School would become a 9-12 grade high school and Washington and Wilson Jr. High Schools would become 6-8 grade middle schools, under a grade alignment plan designed to increase student learning opportunities, staff collaboration and district efficiency. 

Under the plan, the district’s elementary schools would become 5K-5th grade schools. Stangel Elementary School students and staff would all move to Riverview Early Learning Center, which would become a 4K-5th grade elementary school. McKinley Academy would move its alternative high school and other services into Stangel. The district would determine the future use of McKinley, the district’s oldest school, built in 1891. 

The Manitowoc Public School District will hold a community listening session on May 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the Wilson Jr. High School auditorium to gather public input and answer questions.

“There has been support in Manitowoc for more than a decade to move to a 9-12 grade high school model,” Superintendent Mark Holzman said. “I’m excited about all the benefits this move would provide. Our secondary students would have more choices for advanced classes and earlier connections to high school faculty and counseling staff.” 

Lincoln High is one of the last high schools in Wisconsin to serve 10th-12th grade. Wisconsin Rapids is moving its 9th graders to the high school this fall, and Stevens Point is studying recommendations to move to a 9-12 school. 

If approved by the MPSD Board of Education, the changes would take place in fall 2019 for the 2019-2020 school year, unless a phased approach was preferred. 

Manitowoc Public Schools have seen declining enrollment. Potentially reducing the district’s building operations by one (McKinley) and making more efficient use of existing buildings would save funds. Lincoln High school has space to add 9th graders, which would increase its total enrollment to about 1,400. Lincoln has not had 9th graders since 1936. 

There could be staff reductions from the grade alignments; however, that is not the district’s goal and efforts would be made to keep existing staff. While some positions may no longer be needed; others will need to be added, such as an additional counselor at the high school to support the addition of more than 375 students and their social-emotional and academic needs. 

Riverview, which currently serves the district’s sole location for 4-year-old and 5-year-old kindergarten, would see its 5K classes moved to neighborhood elementary schools (Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe). However, Riverview would continue to be the district’s sole location for 4K and Early Childhood programs. As the third largest capacity building with a pool and outdoor learning center, Riverview would become a full 4K-5th grade elementary school, replacing Stangel. 

Moving Stangel to Riverview was not an easy elementary boundary change recommendation. Under the plan, all of Stangel’s students would move to Riverview so they could stay together and keep their peer and staff connections. The majority of Stangel’s students are bussed to Stangel and they would be bussed to Riverview. “We understand this plan will require some families to make some changes,” Holzman said. “If this plan is approved, we are committed to doing everything possible to make all of our families and staff feel welcome and engaged in their new school.” 

The proposed plan was reviewed and discussed by a MPSD advisory committee of over 50 employees representing each school. “We have been reviewing and discussing potential grade alignments for more than a year, and the advisory committee overwhelmingly supported this model,” Holzman said. 

The Board of Education on April 24 approved taking the plan to a community listening session. The Board could vote on the grade alignment plan at its May 24 meeting.