The city of Holyoke is redesigning the school district by adding two new middle schools next year.
Holyoke Superintendent Dr. Stephen Zrike told Western Mass News the school system wants to break away from the K-8 model which will begin this coming fall.
"It hasn't been tailored to the needs of students. It hasn't given them the personalization and preparation to be successful," said Superintendent Dr. Zrike. The Holyoke Stem Academy will move into the Dean Technical High School, and the new Veritas Prep School will move into the Peck School.
However, both new schools will operate as a separate institution. "It takes time to build a culture and we wanted to make sure that both schools were successful," said Superintendent Dr. Zrike.
Some grades from the E.N. White School, the Morgan School, and the Kelly School are impacted in the move. "We'll have a limited number of choice seats for families in the district who are in other schools in the city," Dr. Zrike added. Mayor Alex Morse told Western Mass News:
"The Holyoke Public Schools will begin to provide a true middle school experience for Holyoke students as they prepare to move into high school and eventually college and careers."
As for how much this will all cost, Superintendent Zrike said, "there might be some initial start up costs that we look to leverage some additional support from our turnaround grant."
While plans were in the works for the middle schools, it does help with the influx in students following Hurricane Maria. "It will assist with some of the overcrowding that exists in our schools, and some of that is from recent arrivals," Dr. Zrike noted.
Parents and students are invited to information sessions over the next month.
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