Message from the Superintendent to HPES & NES Families
March 3, 2022
Northport Elementary and Huntington Place Elementary Families,
As we plan for the 2022-2023 school year, I wanted to share with you a recommendation I am making to the Board of Education. It is my recommendation that the grade configurations for Northport Elementary and Huntington Place Elementary remain as they are now, with grades Pre-K through 2 at NES, and grades 3 and 4 at HPES. As you may remember, the configuration plan announced several years ago called for NES and HPES both to become K-4 schools, upon the opening of Northport Intermediate School. However, much has changed since the initial plan was developed, and I strongly believe it is in the best interest of students not to change the grade configurations of either school. The reasons for my recommendation are outlined below.
- First and foremost, there is now plenty of space for students at both NES and HPES. With Northport Intermediate open, further reconfiguration is not necessary to achieve needed space for students.
- Both NES and HPES have been working hard to implement the reading standards and requirements of the Alabama Literacy Act. This is very important for our students. Having entire grade levels in one location, instead of split between two schools, has been an asset in providing the necessary support and professional development to teachers.
- The events of the past two years were not anticipated when the initial plan was formed to reconfigure NES and HPES. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools, from implementing remote learning last school year, to recouping learning loss and coping with staffing shortages this year, has been significant. Our students and teachers have experienced enough transition and disruption over the past two years, without an unnecessary grade configuration change.
While I know some families were excited about the reconfiguration to two K-4 schools, due to individual preferences and circumstances, I cannot recommend moving forward with a plan that is no longer the best option for most students. I have discussed the factors with Mrs. Pate and Mrs. Hamner, and they are both in support of my recommendation. There may come a time in the future when reconfiguring NES and HPES would be in the best interest of students, and I would certainly explore that possibility when and if the time comes.
Please reach out to me directly if you have any questions or concerns you wish to share.
Keri C. Johnson, Ed.D.