Redmond School District Prepares to Lower Class Size in Primary Grades

Hello Redmond School District community,

Redmond School District is poised to make a significant investment to improve opportunities and outcomes for our students through the use of funds generated by the Student Success Act.

These investments are strongly informed by stakeholder input. In the fall of 2019 the District launched a comprehensive community engagement process to listen to students, parents, community members and local community leaders as to what is working and what needs improvement in our schools. The District engaged in conversations with students, parents and community members in 20 different listening sessions. In addition, the district conducted surveys with more than 700 respondents to identify what our community prioritizes in regards to education. One of the strong themes that emerged from this process is that our community greatly values smaller class sizes, a key priority of the Student Success Act. 

After listening to the community’s feedback our plan is to prioritize investment of some of the Student Success Act funds toward class size reduction. We are currently exploring what a class size reduction will look like in the primary grades. In order to lower class sizes in primary, and accommodate the needs of a rapidly growing population, the District will have to make some adjustments in our elementary schools. We are excited for the additional funding that will come as a result of the Student Success Act, but a challenge we will face in reducing class sizes is that a few of our schools are at maximum capacity, while others are not. With this in mind, changes must be made to balance the population in our school facilities so that we can adequately make the best use of our schools.

We understand that change of any kind can be a challenge so our team has examined multiple options with the goal of developing a longer range solution that results in the least amount of impact on our students and families. The following changes will take effect beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. 

Return to K-5 Model for All Redmond Elementary Schools and Creation of New Elementary School

The Redmond Early Learning Center has experienced significant population growth since its inaugural school year in 2016-2017. With a current student population of 410, the RELC is the largest early learning model in the state of Oregon, quickly outgrowing the capacity of the Hugh Hartman Campus.

The District has chosen to transition kindergarten from the Redmond Early Learning Center, currently housed at the Hugh Hartman Campus, back to the five in-town elementary schools beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. The Hugh Hartman Campus will be repurposed into the district’s sixth in town elementary school to open in the fall of 2020. Lisa Flora-Burgher, who was originally appointed to serve as the RELC principal, will be the principal of the new Hugh Hartman Elementary School. The district is committed to supporting the team at the Redmond Early Learning Center as their positions transition back into the district’s elementary schools. 

We are proud of the hard work of our RELC team in the development of an early learning model. We have experienced in action, new ideas on how we deliver early learning support to Redmond students and families. We have gained new understanding about what is possible in supporting families earlier, and in different ways, and we will continue to incorporate the value of these concepts into our K-5 schools as part of this transition. The amazing teachers, specialists, and leaders at RELC work diligently with great passion and care to design and deliver a strong early learning focused program to all in town kindergarten students within the Redmond School District. The experience and expertise of this team will continue on as kindergarten classrooms transition back to the in town elementary schools next fall. 

Student population at John Tuck Elementary is also growing and in an effort to address this capacity issue, new boundaries will be created for the new Hugh Hartman Elementary to include students from the John Tuck Elementary boundary. Most students affected by this change live close to the Hugh Hartman campus so they will have a similar or shorter travel time to the new elementary school. Those families that will be affected will be notified and will have the opportunity to attend an information session to review the boundary change.

Transition of Students Within M.A. Lynch Elementary Boundary to Tom McCall Elementary Boundary

There are currently 55  students attending M.A. Lynch Elementary from a neighborhood east of Highway 97 in the northeast portion of Redmond. Boundaries will be modified so that homes in this neighborhood will become part of the Tom McCall Elementary boundary beginning in the fall of 2020. Students from homes in this neighborhood historically have attended M.A. Lynch Elementary and transitioned to Elton Gregory Middle School. This change will provide a smooth secondary transition from Tom McCall Elementary to EGMS which is immediately adjacent to the school. Families that will be affected will be notified and will have the opportunity to attend an information session to review the boundary change.

Unification of the District’s Elementary Dual Language Immersion Program 

In our efforts to sustain a healthy, growing Dual Language Program at the elementary level, the District will consolidate the Dual Language Program currently housed at Sage Elementary and the Redmond Early Learning Center to one program to be located on the Hugh Hartman Campus beginning in the fall of 2020. This change will affect four Dual Language classrooms at Sage Elementary School. In this new model all students in the Dual Language program will be located in one facility, providing an opportunity for growth and additional supports. Families affected will be notified and will have the opportunity to attend an information session to review the changes.

Transition of Middle School from Tumalo Community School to Obsidian Middle School

In the fall of 2020, middle school students attending Tumalo Community School will be transitioned to Obsidian Middle School. Tumalo Community School is also experiencing space and capacity challenges. This transition will allow for class size reduction at Tumalo Community School with the additional classroom space. 

Moving Forward

After listening to the community’s feedback and exploring plans to prioritize investment of some of the Student Success Act funds toward class size reduction, these changes emerged as the most effective way to address our community’s concerns with the least amount of impact to students and families. The SSA provides a unique opportunity for our schools to experience the benefits of reduced classroom size at some grade levels. The District believes in the value of smaller class size and it will allow for a richer educational experience for our younger students and enable us to create a more equitable distribution of our student population. 

Redmond School District is committed to supporting the students, families and staff members affected by this change. All families impacted by the change will be contacted by their school teams on Friday, January 29th. Below is a map detailing the new elementary school boundaries to begin in 2020. In addition, a Parent Information drop-in session is scheduled for Tuesday, February 4th at the Redmond Early Learning Center from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. for families impacted by the change to connect with district and school leaders. 

In the meantime, parents are welcome to address questions with their building principal or directly with myself, RSD Superintendent Mike McIntosh, at 541-923-8250. 

We understand that change can be difficult yet sometimes necessary in order to achieve bigger and better things for our students. With your support and understanding we can set the stage to prioritize SSA investments that will make a big difference for our students. Thank you so much for your time and dedication to making success possible for every student.

Sincerely,

Mike McIntosh

Superintendent

mike.mcintosh@redmondschools.org

(541) 923-8250