In the early 1990s, Paramount Unified School District was growing by 400 students per year. During a ten year period, six new schools were built and the district reconfigured to a K-8 format on a multi-track, year-round program and implemented class-size reduction in grades K-3.
In the early 2000s, enrollment flat-lined and it became apparent that the K-8 configuration was no longer serving the students well. The district moved off the multi-track schedule and aligned with a single track schedule. However, the middle grade students needed more challenging experiences. The high school drop-out rate had not improved and students were scoring poorly on major tests. It was clear that changes must be made to help prepare students for success in high school and beyond.
In 2006, our team was hired to help the district determine various scenarios that would reconfigure schools and boundaries to best accomplish their goals by balancing enrollment and creating middle schools. “They had the perfect system to help us,” says Patti Cummings, Director of Facilities. “We were able to go through reconfiguration options on our own, which saved time and money.” After looking into various scenarios, the recommended course of action involved reconfiguring most schools to a K-5 and 6-8 format. This would provide more classes and elective opportunities for students in grades 6-8, while further strengthening the K-5 instructional programs.
The Reconfiguration Task Force reviewed the recommendations and in January 2008 the Board approved the new format. The new configuration will begin in the 2009-10 school year. Reconfiguration will benefit students and the district in several ways. In the three new middle schools, students will now have elective courses in Spanish, Instrumental Music, Chorus, Computer Technology and Art. The district will benefit from new cost-saving formulas such as fewer administrative salaries and better utilization of personnel and facilities.
“They made our job so much easier. With such big changes on the horizon, it’s imperative that the district have ample time to communicate with parents, teachers and students. The DI System made it possible.”Patti Cummings, Director of Facilities, Paramount Unified School District