A restructure of lower grade campuses was approved by the Sulphur Springs School Board during a Monday, March 19, 2018, afternoon special session. The restructure will allow students to stay on the same campus longer. The restructure, which has been a desire of Superintendent Michael Lamb since his taking office (see video below), will ultimately place four classes of four grades on each of the four lower grade schools and will create a re-purposing of two buildings in the district. The changes will begin with the start of the 2018-2019 school year.
What is now Sulphur Springs Elementary School will now find its fourth life as home for fourth (4th) and fifth (5th) grade students. The current building began life as a high school, then junior high, and now as the third (3rd) and fourth (4th) grade elementary school. Holly Folmar will be principal at the Intermediate School which will also house a Dual Language and Behavior as well as Self Contained SPED 4th and 5th programs. The change will bring fifth grade students from the single grade campus at Douglas School.
The Douglas Campus will become the Early Childhood Learning Center with Principal Angela Edwards and Director Hillary Young leading all things Pre-Kindergarten and Early Childhood Learning.
The current Early Childhood Learning Center will be renamed and repurposed as an Elementary School for grades Kindergarten through third (3rd) grade. The building will house four classes for each grade as well as the Transitional first (1st) grade and Self Contained SPED K and 1st grade. There will also be rooms available for future growth. During the years of Lambs term as Superintendent, the district elementary program has grown by about 50 students per year. Ashanta Alexander will be the principal at the fourth elementary school. Board members have not chosen a name for the elementary school.
Lamar Primary School will contain four classes for each of the four grade levels K-3rd and Rowena Johnson will continue as principal there.
Bowie Primary School will contain four classes for each of the four grade levels K-3rd and also house the Special Program: Behavior. Amanda Fenton will be Principal at Bowie.
At Travis, Principal Michelle Wallace will oversee four classes of four grade levels K-3rd plus a Special Program: Dual Language 2 Way Program for K 2018-2019 and a Self Contained SPED 2nd and 3rd. The Dual Language Program will take Kindergarten students who only speak Spanish and Kindergarten students who only speak English providing a language study as well as typical classes for the grade. The Dual Language program will be limited to approximately 44 students. Travis will have six classes of the same grade until those students move on to the next grade level building.
Lamb said he “believes with all my heart” that the move will enable a better learning experience for students as they remain on the same campus for a longer period of time which will provide a greater stability for their experience. He also believes the move will assist in the increase in standardized test scores. He stated that the four districts that follow the current model used in Sulphur Springs consistently score lower than other schools that use the approved model. He noted that 40 school districts of similar size and socio-economic level are used for the comparison.
He noted that a team of district employees assisted in the studies that lead to the plan that will be implemented in the next school year.