Elementary, primary schools merge on paper

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Hubbard to lead two schools; Stafford says savings will be significant

By Molly Haines

Following an unanimous decision by the Owen County Board of Education, the state will now recognize Owen County Primary and Owen County Elementary Schools as one.
The two schools will continue to be housed in their respective buildings, but Owen County School Superintendent Rob Stafford said the schools will be recognized by the state as one school, with one principal and one site-based decision-making council.
Stafford said consolidating the two schools seemed like the logical thing to do.
“We have a primary school that houses kindergarten through second-grade and another building that houses third- and fourth-grades,” Stafford said. “The primary school is full and the elementary school is newly renovated with empty classrooms.”
Kindergarten and first-grade classes will remain at their current location, but second-graders will move across the road to the Owen County Elementary facility.
Owen County Primary School Principal Sharen Hubbard will lead both schools forward.
“We won’t be so cut off from each other,” Hubbard said. “We’ll all know what’s going on and the students will have one set of guidelines and expectations that they get accustomed to in primary school. Now it will all be uniform.”
Stafford said he wasn’t sure of the exact cost savings of the decision, but that it would be substantial.
“You have a principal salary and then with the move of the second grade, you don’t have a need of expanding your current primary school,” Stafford said.
In the past, Hubbard said OCPS had to get creative with making enough space for everyone.
The head start program will be moved into the OCPS facility and Hubbard said the building will now have an art room.
Aside from cost savings, the decision will also give students more time to focus on their education, and less time transitioning.
“Kindergarten through fourth-grade will all be under one leadership position instead of split,” Stafford said. “As far as educational benefits go, there’s less transitioning for the students, which creates more efficiency.”
With the second grade moving to OCES, Hubbard said she hopes to give them a mock Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress test each year.
“By seeing a mock of the K-PREP a year earlier and being introduced to that it will help with achievement when they are accountable for it during their third-grade year,” Hubbard said.
Although Hubbard admits there may be challenges in splitting her time between the two facilities, she’s excited not to lose contact with the students after second-grade.
“I’m looking forward to not losing the kids and reestablishing that contact I had the three years they were (at OCPS),” Hubbard said. “I’ll continue to have a welcoming, open door policy. My office door will always be open.”