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Swift believes freshmen belong in a high school because they “are in a much different place developmentally than 7th- and 8th-graders.”
Swift said she thinks the “stacked” model would be challenging because “having students transition a lot of times maybe isn’t the best model. There’s something about getting settled in a place.”
The board plans to get more input from residents about which model they like and to what extent they would vote to approve funding, Thompson said.
To do that, the district has hired a company to conduct a phone survey. The district will also send out an online survey to parents, students and staff.
The surveys are a way to “check in to see if [residents] know how large the district is,” he said. A decade ago, the district had 3,500 students, but by 2017, it will have between 8,000 and 9,000 students, he said.
The board will offer an official recommendation on which high school model it favors this summer. If all goes as planned, the issue will be on the ballot in February 2014, Thompson said.
Thompson is also planning a visit to Ankeny, Iowa, a community that he said has a similar background and history to Shakopee. That district will open a second high school next year, and their school board is willing to talk about lessons learned, he said.
When they began researching high school options three years ago, Romansky said she was “the last person on the board who wanted two high schools in the city.”
Over time, though, she’s realized that a new school is inevitable because of Shakopee’s continued growth.
“It’s been a very systematic process that we’ve taken,” she said. “In reality, we have to do what’s best for the kids.”
Erin Adler • 952-746-3283