BCSD Parents, Staff & Community,
At the August 6 board meeting directors approved a motion to close Thomas Jefferson Elementary and consolidate the students of Thomas Jefferson Elementary with Mark Twain Elementary. The consolidation will occur during the 2019-2020 school year with the completion of the new Mark Twain Elementary. Directors also approved a motion to begin the process for the sale of the Thomas Jefferson Elementary property.
Although it was a difficult decision, I believe that this will allow the district to be fiscally responsible in the present and the future. This decision will meet the needs of our students by putting us in a position to adapt to educational changes, and also maximizing the flexibility of our support structure and teacher allocation.
The district will continue to have fourteen sections in each elementary grade. The expansion of Mark Twain Elementary School to a three-section building allows the Thomas Jefferson students to attend the new Mark Twain while continuing the current number of sections and class size. This will also give the Thomas Jefferson students the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a new building.
The Thomas Jefferson classroom teachers will be needed at Mark Twain to teach the additional section in each grade. There are other teaching positions that are shared between buildings and, though no longer needed at Jefferson, the positions would continue at Mark Twain or be integrated into other buildings to help with providing equity in the district, or to assist in decreasing travel and lost instructional time. Support staff positions will be evaluated on an individual basis as we continue to identify and serve the needs of our students. Each employee provides a valuable connection between our students and their educational experience and will be considered during the creation of our transition plan.
The new Mark Twain Elementary is being designed to meet the needs of students with future-ready opportunities such as larger classrooms, a commons area, and collaboration spaces. It will be an exciting school for our students to make new friends, collaborate and learn. While change is difficult, I believe that we can work together as a district to embrace the opportunities of becoming stronger together.
In the coming school year parents, staff, and PTAs will have a multitude of opportunities to collaborate and build relationships between Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain. The staff already work together on best practices in teaching, and will work together to develop chances for the students to get to know each other, and become comfortable with the different staff.
The goal of the Bettendorf Community School District has always been to provide our students with learning opportunities that are designed to prepare them for making a living, making a life, and a making a difference. Our community has always supported what is best for the students, and working together, I believe that we can create an environment that shares a passion for learning, a purpose in giving these students the best, and pride in our district.
Thank you for your continued support of the students and staff in the Bettendorf Community School District! Go Bulldogs!