TPS unveils sweeping reconfiguration plan


The Tecumseh School Board on Monday approved a plan that will reconfigure and better utilize buildings in the district. Students, parents, teachers and administrators will have a year to address concerns, “work out bugs,” and finalize plans. No additional funding will be required by the district to implement the plan.

Based on a variety of input from the community and starting with the 2017-18 school year, the new school configuration will be as follows: Sutton Elementary will host preschool, young fives, kindergarten, and first grade; Tecumseh Acres will house young fives, kindergarten and first grade; the current middle school will hold all second through sixth graders; Herrick Park will be the site for seventh and eighth graders as will Patterson; and the high school will remain unchanged, with ninth through 12th graders attending classes there.

Tecumseh Public Schools (TPS) Supt. Kelly Coffin outlined the plan, the process by which it came to realization and the steps to be taken in order to implement the plan. When Coffin took the reins in July of 2013 she immediately began the strategic planning process, which included a facilities assessment. The assessment showed that some district buildings were crowded while others were underutilized. With the current configuration, Sutton is at 117 percent of its capacity; Tecumseh Acres, 102 percent; Patterson, 92 percent; and Herrick Park is at 100 percent. In the meantime, Tecumseh Middle School is at 60 percent of its capacity and Tecumseh High School is at 64 percent.

The facilities committee of the strategic planning team developed two surveys. The first survey, answered by nearly 500 members of the community, among other things, asked if those responding would be in favor of having fourth graders moved to the middle school as well as whether they would be in favor of eighth graders moving to the high school. A little more than 50 percent were in favor of each. Because of those tepid results, the committee recommended that fourth and eighth graders not be moved.

The second survey was based on information gathered from the first survey and provided three scenarios for consideration. About 800 members of the community responded. A compilation of the feedback identified that those who completed the survey wanted to: limit the number of moves between buildings throughout the students’ K-12 career; keep in check the costs for renovations and room sizes; supported grade level configurations; have assurance that time on buses would not increase and that siblings would be on the same bus; and felt there was no clear support for seventh and eighth grade students. The reconfiguration plan was framed directly from the feedback received from these surveys, Coffin reported.

By reorganizing, capacity at each school will be better balanced, according to Coffin. When the plan is implemented, it is estimated Sutton will be at 72 percent capacity; Tecumseh Acres, 77 percent; current middle school, 72 percent; Patterson, 82 percent; Herrick Park, 75 percent; and Tecumseh High School, 63 percent. The plan will allow the district to utilize current facilities while at the same time have room for continued growth. Other benefits of the reorganization include the equalization of class sizes, project-based learning for seventh and eighth graders, grade level bands where teachers have common planning time and the ability to personalize learning for all students in second through sixth grade, the opportunity to improve special education support and services, among others.

“I think it’s important for people to know this is community-driven,” trustee Roger Hart said.

“There’s been a lot of work that’s been done,” Coffin said. “We’re just so lucky to have community involvement.”

 Coffin explained that committees have already been formed to address internal and external aspects of the move and that a board ad hoc committee has been formed to address and monitor facility needs.

“We are taking one full year to work through this and identify everything that can go wrong. It is all about communication,” Coffin emphasized. “This is really an opportunity. This is forward-thinking and it’s really going to improve outcomes for our students for years to come.”

Coffin and staff will be holding five community conversations in May and June to gather input, address concerns and identify issues to be addressed.

“They will be very informal meetings,” Coffin said. “We want to take this year and we want to make sure we’re doing this right.”

The meetings will be held May 18 at 5 p.m., May 26 at noon, May 31 at 6 p.m., June 7 at noon and June 22 at 6 p.m. at the board office.

Other action at the board meeting on Monday includes:

• The board adopted the 2016-2017 Lenawee Intermediate School District budget resolution.

• The board welcomed 13 visiting teachers from China. They will be in Tecumseh for another week. A contingent of Tecumseh teachers will travel to China for training after the school year concludes.

• Kristalyn Musselman and Mary Tommelein presented to the board the state-mandated report on the sex education curriculum. A sex education advisory committee looked at new curriculum and made recommendations. Training, presentations and costs for the curriculum will be covered by a grant in which TPS was one of only 15 schools in the state to receive.

• The board granted a request by Principal Rick Hilderley to take students to Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg.

• A budget hearing was set for June 27 at 6:30 p.m.


Tecumseh Herald


110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286

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