Community Information Meetings
To learn more about the proposed building project please join the Superintendent at one of the meetings listed below.
FAQs Early Childhood Complex Expansion
The following FAQs are based on information available as of March 1, 2017.
Please check back as questions will be updated and others added as the project progresses.
Why do we need to expand the Early Childhood Center?
We need to expand the Early Childhood Center to add classrooms for our kindergarten program in order to reduce elementary class size. Elementary class sizes in North Andover are among the largest in the state, almost 4 students per class over the state average (23.51 in North Andover compared to 19.6 in the State). For example, in order for North Andover to have elementary class sizes that are comparable to the state average this year, we would have needed to add an additional 18 classrooms for a total of 108 classrooms. Unfortunately, we simply do not have the extra elementary classrooms in our current 5 elementary buildings. As a result, we commissioned an architect to explore a number of options to build additional elementary classrooms. In the end, it was determined by the School Committee that the best option was to build a kindergarten complex attached to our current Early Childhood Center (ECC).
How much will it cost and how will it be funded?
The project will cost $6,175,000. It will be funded through the Town’s FY18 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).The Town Manager has indicated that the funds for this project will come from traditional borrowing ($2,175,000) and the use of reserves ($4,000,000). These reserves are the direct result of the Town’s work to contain costs over the last 5 years. As a result, no town services will be adversely impacted and no tax Override (actually called a “Debt Exclusion” in this case) vote will be required to construct this new facility.
Were there other options explored?
Yes, the architects explored 2 other options - 1) adding additional classrooms at Kittredge, Atkinson and Franklin; and 2) adding a Kindergarten complex to Franklin. For a full discussion of each of these options, please read the Superintendent’s January letter to the community. Other options that were suggested were building a 5th grade wing to the Middle School or building another elementary school. These two options were not explored in depth mostly because of the large cost associated with both suggestions. In the end, the kindergarten complex attached to the ECC was the most cost effective option and would require the least amount of time to complete.
Has it been approved?
The short answer is no. The School Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the Finance Committee have all unanimously approved this concept as part of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). However, the CIP must be approved by a two-thirds majority at Town Meeting on May 16th. Unless the CIP is approved by Town Meeting, we cannot go forward with this plan.
When is the expansion of the Early Childhood center expected to open?
If approved at Town Meeting, we anticipate that the new kindergarten complex will be open for the start of school in September, 2018.
How about traffic and parking?
Those that know the current ECC site know that traffic and parking could be an issue. We are in the process of commissioning a traffic plan that will address traffic and parking at the new school along with Atkinson and the Middle School.
So I understand the new building is going to be modular construction, what is that?
Modular construction simply means that much of the building will be built offsite and shipped in already built. The current ECC is modular construction. It is important to understand that modular construction is not temporary construction. It is simply a more cost effective and efficient way to build. Modular construction does not work for all projects, but given the needs of this project, we are confident it will work well.
Will this project require students to be redistricted?
No. One advantage of this option over other options is that it will not require redistricting. For first grade, students will attend their neighborhood schools.
How does it impact the Middle School fields project?
We are working closely with the Middle Schools field project to incorporate the needs of the new kindergarten complex. In fact, we are hopeful that we might be able to share spaces, such as outdoor classroom areas and an age-appropriate playground.
How can I learn more about the building proposal?
Join the Superintendent at one of the scheduled community meetings where members of the public will have an opportunity to hear more about the proposal and to ask questions.
What can I do to help make it happen?
You can come to Town Meeting on May 16th and vote to support this project. Without a two-thirds majority vote at Town Meeting, we will not be able to move forward on this project and class sizes at the elementary school will at best remain the same in the future.
What will be the age and grade level make-up of the building?
The current Early Childhood Center has programming for children ages 3- 5 years old. With the new addition the transition to an Early Childhood Complex will encompass ages 3-6, preschool through kindergarten. All kindergartens are full day.
Will there be before- and after-school programming (Kids Stop)
Community Programs will offer before- and after-school programs for kindergarteners. We are looking into extending this option to preschoolers.
Who will be the teachers in the program?
Each preschool and kindergarten classroom will be staffed by a qualified teacher and teaching assistant. Special subjects and special education services will be provided by qualified and certified teachers.
How many children will be in each kindergarten?
The goal is to maintain a class size of no more than 21.
How will children be placed in classrooms?
Classrooms will be balanced so that each group of children represents children from all 5 elementary schools. This way when children transition to first grade they will know some other children at their neighborhood school.
How will there be a smooth transition to first grade and the elementary schools?
In the spring of the kindergarten year there will be a “move-up” day when all kindergarten children will have an opportunity to go on a school bus with their teachers to visit their elementary school. They will meet the Principal and other staff and tour the school. It will be a similar experience as when our current fifth grade students visit the middle school.
What will be the transition and orientation process prior to the building opening in September, 2018?
The staff will plan several transition events prior to September, 2018. Updates and progress will be shared via the website and Twitter. Our current processes of class visits and family orientations will continue.
Will there be access to special subjects?
Yes, kindergarten students will have physical education, music and art. They will also have access to a library.
What will be the process for lunch?
Children can order lunch from our food services department or bring lunch from home. Children will eat together in the cafeteria.
Where will recess take place?
There will be access to an age-appropriate playground.
What will the kindergarten curriculum look like?
The components of the kindergarten curriculum are summarized here:
Will there be a designated PTO?
Yes, there is already a PTO in place at the preschool which will expand when the kindergarten joins the school community.
Will the kindergarteners receive Enrichment programming?
Yes, kindergarten children will receive age-appropriate enrichment programming.
Will there be access to technology?
Yes, the complex will have age-appropriate technology and the building will be set up for internet access.
Who can I contact for further information or to submit a question?
Judy Rogers: Kindergarten Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org