NORTHBOROUGH – The Northborough Public Schools will be forming a study group that will study the configuration of the town’s elementary schools.
This group could eventually recommend changes in terms of where families in certain parts of town send their children for school.
The Northborough School Committee voiced their support for the effort during their Nov. 3 meeting.
“I love this,” said Committee Member Kelly Guenette. “I’ve been thinking about this for years and trying to figure out something, especially with the enrollment numbers the way they are and redistricting that has to happen.”
Superintendent Gregory Martineau said at a Sept. 1 School Committee meeting that there were 1,541 students enrolled in Northborough schools.
At that time, he said there were several classrooms at the cap under the district’s class size policy, which indicates that the target class range for kindergarten through second grade is between 16 to 20 students. The target range for third through fifth grade is between 16 to 22 students. For sixth through eighth grade, it is between 18 to 24 students.
Over the summer, a first-grade classroom was added at Peaslee Elementary School because all of the classrooms there were at the class size ceiling, Martineau said.
“That allows us more space for new enrollments in terms of first grade,” Martineau said.
What is proposed
Martineau initially raised the idea of a study group.
“We have amazing elementary schools, and they’ve been organized by neighborhood schools for many years,” Martineau said. “Any good organization evaluates and assesses the advantages and disadvantages of current configurations.”
School Committee member Erin Tagliaferri asked if the group would have a blank slate or whether Martineau had an idea of what the configuration should be.
“I think we have some ideas, obviously, but I also want to keep an open mind. I want to look at all different opportunities. My prediction is that we’ll land on two potential scenarios,” Martineau said.
The group would examine those advantages and disadvantages, considering enrollment trends and grade level configuration to see if there are other opportunities to maximize Northborough schools and resources, he said.
The group will hold its first meeting next month.
Staff, families and the community will then be surveyed throughout the first couple of months of 2022, and an analysis will be conducted.
The group will present a formal report to the School Committee next year. Martineau projected that such a meeting would occur in April.