October 25, 2018
After three years of planning, public input and research, Superintendent Dr. Josh Swanson presented his recommendation to the school board regarding Designing Pathways - Eden Prairie Schools’ process to define a 10-year outlook of its academic programming and supporting facilities. Over the last year, many academic recommendations were moved forward, but the facilities considerations remained, specifically related to grade configuration changes.
The Superintendent’s recommendation included four components:
- Improve the middle school experience by transitioning 6th graders to a more age- and academic-appropriate environment at the middle school. Improvements include:
- An updated learning environment with new classrooms, collaborative learning spaces and building-wide updates.
- Stronger performing arts opportunities with a new performing arts space.
- Improved traffic flow and safety for student pick up and drop off.
- Students will eat lunch over a typical lunch period by expanding the cafeteria and preventing lunch periods from beginning at 10 a.m.
- Providing choices for each student that also strengthen the spanish immersion experience.
- Transition 4 year old preschool to the elementary schools to ensure more children are prepared for kindergarten. Improvements include:
- Improved traffic flow at the elementary schools with the reduction of 6th grade and preschool starting on a separate schedule as the rest of the school.
- Students will be more academically, socially and emotionally prepared for kindergarten by experiencing preschool in the same building as K-5.
- Preschool and kindergarten teachers will regularly collaborate to ensure student success.
- Preschool students will ride a dedicated preschool bus to the elementary schools.
- Facilities at the elementary schools will be updated where appropriate.
- Improve safety and security across all eight schools by adding protective glass, lock down equipment, internal communication systems and exterior entry security.
- Redesign classrooms across the district that emphasize skills employers and colleges demand like collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking.
Implementing these recommendations would require a board vote and approval for a $39.9 million bond. If approved by taxpayers, the cost of the proposal would be $6.50 a month on a $350,000 home.
The board will continue further conversations at their upcoming meetings about the proposal.
“I believe this is in the long term best interest of students, the district, and the community,” said Superintendent Dr. Josh Swanson. “We would also maintain our commitment to financial responsibility by keeping our taxes among the lowest in this area.”