This is an exciting time in the Ferguson-Florissant School District as we prepare for the 2019-2020 school year. District leaders with input from students, staff, and community members have been working through a restructuring process that began nearly two years ago, and was approved by our Board of Education in October 2018. The restructuring process focuses on the bookends of early education and high school, but encompasses all of our schools with revised attendance boundaries, reorganization of grade levels, repurposing of some schools, and the closure of others.
One of the Board’s goals is that the District will serve at least fifty percent of the three and four year olds in our community through our high quality early education program. In August 2019 seven of our elementary schools will be reconfigured to Pre-K to second grade schools. Those schools are Bermuda, Central, Commons Lane, Duchesne, Holman, Parker Road, and Walnut Grove. These schools will focus on preparing children for success as they progress through their education by addressing students’ behavioral and social-emotional needs while providing a solid foundation in reading and math.
Our goal is that all students will be reading on grade level when they enter our third through fifth grade schools. Those 3-5 schools are Berkeley, Combs, Griffith, Halls Ferry, Lee-Hamilton, and Robinwood. After fifth grade, students will begin their middle school experience in one of our sixth grade centers, Johnson-Wabash or Wedgwood located on our middle school campuses where seventh and eighth grade students will attend Ferguson Middle or Cross Keys Middle before reaching the other bookend of their education at McCluer High or McCluer North High, our 9-12 comprehensive high schools.
Secondary students have several opportunities for specialized educational opportunities. McCluer students will have the opportunity to participate in the Advanced Placement Capstone program with courses to develop students’ skills in research, analysis, evidence-based arguments, collaboration, writing, and presenting. McCluer North is presently an International Baccalaureate Candidate school where students will have the opportunity to experience an internationally recognized program of study.
Our middle school STEAM Academy is in its second year. This application school focuses on STEAM fields and provides students deeper learning through project based learning. We look forward to welcoming our first students to the STEAM Academy at McCluer South-Berkeley High School in August of 2019. This application based 9-12 high school will open with ninth through eleventh grade students the first year and expand to full 9-12 classes for the 2020-2021 school year. High school STEAM Academy students will build upon the middle school STEAM experience with an emphasis on STEAM fields of study.
Cool Valley will become our Innovation School serving 9-12 grade students using the Big Picture Learning Model of Learning through Interest and Learning through Internships. Two days each week students are out of the building at real-world internships, exploring their interests, and learning through applying the curriculum standards to the work. Three days each week, students are in class with an advisor who guides them through all four years of high school. The advisor supervises the internship experience and ensures that any educational gaps from the internship experience are met through classroom instruction. Prior to graduation, students in the Innovation School write an extensive autobiography and present a defense of learning to a committee who confirms the student is prepared for post secondary success. Big Picture students frequently graduate with certifications to enter a variety of fields with good paying jobs immediately after high school. Big Picture students also graduate prepared for college success, and some even enter Ivy League schools.
These are exciting times in the Ferguson-Florissant School District filled with great opportunity. We believe that all of our students deserve to have a high quality education, and the restructuring process creates that access.