Kindergarten program will move to Gilles-Sweet Elementary beginning with the 2024-2025 school year
September 20, 2023
At the September 19, 2023, Fairview Park City School District Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Keith Ahearn outlined plans to move the Kindergarten program from the Parkview Early Education Center to Gilles-Sweet Elementary beginning in the 2024-2025 school year.
The rationale for moving Kindergarten to Gilles-Sweet is based on what is best academically for students and what is best for staff in the district. In addition, the move is projected to reduce district expenses and expand daycare and preschool options for families. The four areas considered before the announcement include building capacity and enrollment, cost savings and efficiencies, teaching and learning, and expansion of preschool/daycare.
Building capacity and enrollment:
Gilles-Sweet Elementary has the space to accommodate Kindergarten. Originally designed as a PreKindergarten through Grade 6 building, Gilles-Sweet has specially designed classrooms for Kindergarten-aged children with additional square footage and bathrooms in each room. These types of classrooms are not available at Parkview.
Gilles-Sweet Elementary and Kindergarten have seen a decline in enrollment over the past five years.
Cost Savings & Efficiencies:
The consolidation of elementary-aged students into one building saves on administrative salaries. It also provides greater flexibility for staffing to adjust to changing enrollment patterns and class sizes.
The move would also increase specialized services without adding additional staff at Gilles-Sweet Elementary, including increased access to counseling, speech therapy, special education services, and Title I services.
Transportation routing would be improved, reducing operational costs.
Teaching and Learning:
With teachers in grades K-5 in the same building, curriculum alignment and professional collaboration between staff would be improved. Staff would be able to more easily share data and assessments to help better address student needs.
Opportunities would also be made available for cross-curricular units and shared experiences with older students. Integration with older grades would facilitate smoother transitions for students as they progress through different grade levels.
Expansion of Preschool/Daycare
The transition of Kindergarten would create space at the Parkview Early Education Center for the expansion of preschool/daycare programs. These affordable programs provide some of our youngest students with opportunities to learn essential academic and social skills. It would also expand early literacy and numeracy opportunities for students.
The expansion of these programs would also provide increased support for more working parents in the community.
“The transition of Kindergarten to Gilles-Sweet is part of the district’s commitment to early childhood education and maximizing the use of our facilities. This move allows us to support the development of students in Kindergarten and expand daycare and preschool opportunities for our community. Success in early education has a long-term impact on the academic, social and emotional well-being of children and their families,” stated Ahearn.