expands to meet needs of middle school students
ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
JCD Superintendent Bill Narwold shows the plans for the
new renovation/addition to the school that will boast a
wing for the junior high students.
$6.3M renovation/addition project at Jac-Cen-Del will not only
give the present students more space, it will allow for a wing
designated for a middle school that includes sixth, seventh and
Superintendent Bill Narwold noted the overall goal is for the
middle school students to have their own identity leading to a
better educational concept for them all the way around. They
learn differently...this plan is for their distinct education,
social and physical needs, he said at a press conference
The middle school will operate on a different bell schedule than
the high school, meaning the students wont clash in the
hallways. The way the schedule is organized will not only give
the student their own identity, but will provide for smaller classrooms.
The sixth graders will keep the same schedule as they have now
- giving them continuity in learning style. They will have some
changes such as lockers and the atmosphere of a high school campus
preparing them for the years ahead. Administrators have researched
the idea of having the sixth, seventh and eighth grades together
and believe it will work better than the present set-up of K-6
and then 7-12.
Elementary school principal Leanna Phillippe said this will provide
a very safe transition for the sixth graders who will have the
same teachers. It will continue with project based learning, a
theme that will take them through their high school years. High
school principal Johnny Budd noted they are doing project based
learning now at the high school with Project Lead the Way.
While the high school principal is proud of the fact his students
score at or above average on tests, he has a deeper concern. The
drop out rate is alarming. We want to focus on students
in the middle grades and get them off to a good start, he
noted. Supt. Narwold noted that the drop out rates can be traced
back to the middle school age.
The addition at the high school will not only provide a separate
wing for the middle school but additional much needed science
rooms. The present ones date back to the 1960s. Also, students
will have another advantage with the new music and multi purpose
Now when there is an activity that includes large groups, it has
to take place in the gym. That means the students who might be
scheduled for a physical education class simply dont get
to have it for that day.
Also, the cafeteria has been expanded so students can actually
sit down and eat in it. The design includes an outdoor food court
The project includes much needed new lockers and exterior doors
at the high school as well as a new HVAC system for the elementary.
The vacated space left by the exodus of the sixth graders at the
elementary will be put to good use. Principal Phillippe explained
the additional space will allow for more project based learning
where the projects can actually be left and not taken down after
each class period. She noted that this summer, she, along with
30 other educators will be taking part in a training that will
bring the present curriculum to life. Phillippe is an innovative
thinker who is excited about having the space to expand learning
capacity at the elementary. She knows the importance of students
getting the basics before moving on to higher grades.
Both principals agreed they will continue to interact in the best
interest of the education of students at Jac-Cen-Del. Well
even be able to use the high school science rooms, Phillippe
The number one priority of the administration is to provide the
best possible education for the 900 students they serve. Realigning
the students to create a middle school is a major focus of this
project that has many more advantages for all the students.
Bruns-Gutzwiller of Batesville is the general contractor for the
project which should be completed no later than the second semester
of next year.
Supt. Narwold says they will begin orientation for students and
staff yet this year to provide a smoother transition that could
take place as early as the first semester of next year. We
would like to start at the beginning of the (2011-2012) school
year, Narwold concluded. He knows that is dependent on weather
and other variables.
Narwold said they will monitor a number of measures to mark the
success of the project. Among those will be attendance, discipline,
extra-curricular participation, drop out and graduates rates,
along with ISTEP scores.
They will also utilize student and parental input through the
form of surveys.