LORAIN — The Lorain school district will be adding a middle school next year in addition to opening its new high school.
In a districtwide email Monday, Superintendent Jeff Graham announced plans to reconvert the Lorain High School Annex, 2321 Fairless Drive, into Southview Middle School.
“This has always been part of the district’s plan,” Graham said. “Beginning in the fall, the new high school will actually be able to hold all four grades while the current high school, and former Southview High School, does not.”
Graham said when the district had two high schools it had plenty of space, but with all of the high school students consolidated into one building, there wasn’t enough room.
Since the demolition of Admiral King High School in the 2012-13 school year, the annex has housed the district’s ninth-graders and the Credit Recovery and New Beginnings academies to ensure all students had the necessary space.
Graham said the district’s elementary schools will house kindergarten through fifth grades next school year and the middle schools will have sixth through eighth grade instead of just seventh and eighth.
“This age grouping makes more sense,” Graham said. “Developmentally it makes more sense, and it allows for us to have middle schools based on neighborhoods.”
General Johnnie Wilson Middle School President Bryan Hilko said he thinks the return of Southview Middle School would be good for the students.
“It places students in buildings with children from the same neighborhoods and when you think about how much similar a sixth-grader is developmentally to an eighth-grader in comparison to a third-grader, it makes sense,” Hilko said.
Hilko said having sixth-graders in a middle school would allow them to foster better relationships with both teachers and other students.
Graham said with the addition of Southview Middle School, the districts for all elementary and middle schools will be redrawn.
“It means we can have neighborhood schools for our kids,” Graham said. “We’re going to be notifying parents of their child’s school assignments in the coming weeks through letters and phone calls.”
Graham said interdistrict open enrollment would also continue.
“There will be a form to request an assignment change if you feel it’s necessary,” he said. “And we’ll do our best to accommodate as many people as we can.”
Graham said with the exception of “a few spots here and there” the district would not be adding new positions to handle the new building.
“Essentially, we’ll be shuffling people around,” he said. “We’ve got an idea of what staff is going to need to go where.”
According to the Monday email, the new setup will also allow the district to better serve alternative students.
“Redistricting will not only provide more balanced school and classroom sizes, but the opportunity to more equitably serve our students with special needs in their home schools,” the email said. “We know that students of all ability levels do better when included amongst their peers. By ensuring students are in the same buildings as their siblings, close to home, we believe this will provide stronger supports for families as well.”
The district will also be expanding its English Language Learners program in order to keep all students at their neighborhood schools both at the elementary and middle school level.