EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – A Eugene arts and technology school's elementary classes will likely shut down at the end of the school year, several years faster than many expected.
The "Arts and Technology Academy," or ATA is proposing a shut down of its second, third, fourth and fifth grade classes at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. The school is currently K-8. Under the proposal, the sixth, seventh and eighth grade classes would remain untouched.
ATA has already been in the process of phasing out its elementary level grades, but this would be an accelerated move to close the school's elementary level.
The recommendation comes from the school's principal, teachers and site council. The 4J School Board first chose to close the school at 22nd Avenue and Chambers Street in the 2011-2012 school year. The closure move was approved due to low enrollment and a decline in interest.
Originally though, the plan was to cut the lowest elementary grade each year until everyone got through fifth grade. However, now the school thinks it would be too hard on the leftover elementary aged kids, who would see their teachers and classmates dwindle in size each year.
4J still considers the elementary classes a success though. ATA has one laptop for every two students. It also has given kids the ability to use video cameras, digital cameras, smart boards and other relevant technology of today’s world at an early age.
“They've made incredible strides with test scores their growth is really off the charts, they really are showing great growth in student academic performance but for whatever reason, we're not seeing as many students enrolling in the elementary school level enrolling there,” says Kerry Delf, communications coordinator for the Eugene 4J School District.
About 65 elementary school kids will be affected by the closure. Each teacher that was teaching at ATA will move to another school.
As for the section of the "Jefferson Middle School" building that ATA's elementary classes are housed in, the school will add that to the continuing 6th through 8th grade ATA classes. The middle school, which is also tech focused, should be able to house more students and refocus on science, technology, engineering and math, or "STEM" programming.
The 4J School Board will take a look at the proposal tonight. The earliest the board could vote on it would be there next meeting on December 19th, 2012.