Wiscasset’s sixth-grade class will not move from Wiscasset Elementary School to Wiscasset Middle High School in 2017-2018, but a committee will form to plan the move for the following school year. The Wiscasset School Committee established the committee Thursday, April 27.
There has been little resistance during presentations of the proposal to move grade six and create a middle school wing for grades six through eight at Wiscasset Middle High.
However, parents and teachers did express concerns about placing 10- to 12-year-olds in the same building as high schoolers, and about relocating high school students out of the area that would become the middle school wing.
The move had been proposed for the 2017-2018 school year, but the school committee and school administration decided to delay it for a year to allow more public feedback and participation in the process, Wiscasset School Department Superintendent Heather Wilmot said.
“We wanted to slow down so we could do a really thoughtful job and not feel rushed,” said school committee member Chelsea Taylor, who will serve on the ad hoc committee.
The committee on the sixth-grade move will consist of Taylor, Wilmot, Wiscasset Middle High School Principal Peg Armstrong, Wiscasset School Department Transportation and Facilities Maintenance Director John Merry, a parent, a student, and a teacher.
The parent, student, and teacher who will serve on the committee have not yet been appointed, but their feedback will be important in planning the move, Wilmot said. Once the committee membership is finalized, a timeline of meetings and reports of recommendations will be established.
The administration previously proposed transforming the front wing of Wiscasset Middle High into a middle school wing, and reconfiguring the current tech space to create additional classrooms. In the initial proposal, the high school classrooms currently in the front wing would move to the reconfigured back section of the building and the second floor.
The proposal could change as a result of the committee’s work, with other options for the configuration of the space identified, Wilmot said. The proposal would not have been brought forward if a middle school wing that minimizes the contact of younger students with the high school population was not possible in the middle high school, she has said.
An $18,000 line item in the 2017-2018 department budget, to cover the costs of renovations to the middle high school in order to accommodate the move, was left in the budget so renovations could begin in the upcoming year, Wilmot said.