Possible benefits to Richmond County school consolidating

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News 12 This Morning/ Wednesday Jan. 22, 2014

RICHMOND CO., Ga. (WRDW) -- Collins Elementary school serves students from Kindergarten through the 8th grade--and has been since 2008, when Richmond County school district officials began a right sizing process to consolidate some schools.

"As a K through 8 school here for the last three years, my eighth graders--I've taught them for the past three years,"Sharon Griffin said.

Griffin, 8th grade math and science teacher at Collins, has been teaching there for five years.

She says the K through 8 model is proving beneficial for students and teachers there.

"When you're in a K-8 school you see them progress through all of the grades, so by the time they get to you on whatever level, you already know those children--those children already know you," she said. "So, the expectation is already there."

She tells me that having a longer time to get to know her students provides a major advantage for her as a teacher.¤

"You don't have to go through any changes to prepare them and introduce them to who you are. They already know who you are," said Griffin. "When school starts, we can go ahead and start class. They don't have to ask, 'Ms. Griffin, what are your expectations?' or anything like that."

Griffin tells me the time it takes traditional students to transition from an elementary school to a new middle school is non-existent in the K through 8 setting.

She says behavioral expectations are already set, which allows for students to stay better prepared and stay more confident in the classroom.

"We're able to jump right into whatever the curriculum is without having to go through our rituals and routines," she said. "They're already established school-wide."

A few schools were consolidated and made into K through 8 schools back in 2008 and 2009, including Hornsby Elementary and East Augusta Middle School.

In that round of rightsizing, Tubman Middle School became the Educational Center and the Bungalow Road Alternative School became a transitional building.

To see recommendations for closings and consolidations as of Jan. 22 click the link to the right.

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