Barnegat School Board to Hold Meeting on Reconfiguration Plan March 14

Mar 06, 2019

By September, the Barnegat School District is looking to implement a reconfiguration plan that, among other changes, would result in the four elementary schools housing two grades rather than continuing as K-5 buildings.

If the plan goes into effect next September, the Cecil S. Collins school would house Pre-K and kindergarten. The Joseph T. Donohue School would be home for first and second grade. Third- and fourth-graders would attend the Lillian M. Dunfee School, while the Robert Horbelt School would house grades five and six. 

The Russell O. Brackman Middle School would house grades seven and eight instead of the current six through eight, becoming a junior high.

District Superintendent Brian Latwis said the plan has the approval of the board of education as well as the administrative team of principals, vice principals and supervisors.

“While we understand this model creates more transitions for the students and eliminates singular school communities, the benefits to this new structure far outweigh the setbacks,” wrote Latwis in a letter to parents. “By creating five two-year grade spans, we are eliminating the ‘middle school’ and the anxiety that goes with it. Now, it is the next paw up. Similarly, this model allows students to grow with their peers in Barnegat starting in Pre-Kindergarten, thereby creating a larger, more unified community. We are also working together to create a plan for seamless transitions from each school that allows for students, teachers and families to celebrate the accomplishments and successes that each student has achieved at every level.” 

Latwis said the plan “increases the consistency for delivery of instruction,” allowing for more opportunities for collaboration among teachers of the same grade level.

“We can utilize resources more efficiently, which has a positive impact on the budget,” he said. “We’ll have the ability to outfit each building to support specific age groups, whether it’s resources and materials, playground and facilities, targeted instructional programs, technology and clubs and activities.”

Latwis said other benefits include implementation of a full-time anti-bullying specialist, expansion of gifted and talented programs, and increase in strategic reading intervention to support literacy.

He invites parents and community members to attend a special meeting on the reconfiguration plan on Thursday, March 14, at 6 p.m. in the Barnegat High School auditorium.

“During this meeting, we will discuss all aspects of the district redesign,” he said. “We’ll elaborate on the benefits, speak on the process and address concerns.”

He said people can communicate questions to

— Eric Englund

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