There’s a special relationship between a small school district and its community. Years ago, I taught in a large district where the high school had nearly 3,000 students. There was no partnership with the community. For example, if the district needed adult mentors, they simply hired them from a pool of applicants. Although you could argue that a big district has access to resources that a small district does not, I believe a small district has other, perhaps better, advantages. If we need adult mentors for our students, we have a cadre of willing folks who, just last year, collectively visited our 1-8 building over 650 times in support of young people. If we want to fill our calendar with Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) we share a sign up calendar and have dozens of folks willing to volunteer days of their time. And if we have students in need — greater need than we can fulfill — we reach out to our community partners and they respond with “how can we help?”

There’s something special about a school in a small community. Our buildings are shared by youth sports, parents groups, churches, walkers in the winter, and swimmers year round. The list goes on and on. The facilities are scheduled early in the morning until late in the evening, just about every day of the year.

Poynette is a true community district, and the District has a referendum question on the November 6th ballot asking the community for new and updated facilities. I’ve been asked a handful of questions about the referendum and I thought it would be best to share the answers with everyone:

1. Why do we have to do anything different to the buildings?

Teaching and learning has changed a great deal since many of us went to school. Today’s students don’t just gather knowledge like we did, but work on ways to apply skills to create solutions to real world challenges. Just as student’s learn in different ways, teachers teach in different way for student-centered learning. We teach students how to work with one another and utilize many resources to determine how and why the world works as it does — and what they can do to make it a better place.

2. If enrollment is not increasing, why are we building a new elementary school?

The Committee tasked with determining the District’s facility priorities agreed that although our enrollment wasn’t increasing, our elementary school lacked the appropriate spaces for today’s teaching and learning needs. Many of the elementary classrooms are segregated from their peers, have no access to natural light, and are much smaller (650 SF) than today’s building standard for classroom size (at least 900 SF).

3. What does the safety and security of the new elementary school look like? How is it compared to other districts?

The plans for the new elementary would meet today’s standards which include monitored and controlled entrances, increased video monitoring, and secure classroom doors.

4. Why aren’t we doing safety and security projects at the current ES/MS and just at the HS?

The current elementary/middle school (1-8 building) has a monitored and controlled entrance that the voters approved in 2011. The district is in the process of upgrading cameras and door locks with funding provided by the statewide safety grant. The current high school entrance was created in 2001 and opens into the main lobby of the building. Although it has been upgraded to use video ‘buzz-in’ system with a camera for added security, today’s standards are that visitors should not have access to the building without first going through the office.

That monitored and controlled access is included in the referendum.

5. What are your plans for Arlington Early Learning Center?

The future use of Arlington is yet to be determined but could include: selling or repurposing the building for community and/or District use.

The oldest section of the ES/MS has some of the smallest rooms in the district. It also lacks air conditioning and several rooms have no access to running water. Some of the rooms may be used for teacher offices(physical education currently has offices on the “stage” in the gym) but we anticipate utilizing some of the space for much needed storage.

7. Are we going to build restrooms by the High School football field?

Yes, the referendum includes funds to create public restrooms by the fields.

8. Where is the proposed new elementary school located?

On the district owned land, by the Poynette Dekorra Fire Department

9. How does a new Elementary School (ES) impact current bussing?

The district will work with our transportation provider to determine the best routes and routing time. Bussing at the new ES will have its own drop-off/pick-up drive separated from other traffic. We anticipate the drop off/pick up process to be much smoother than our present method.

10. Will we still do community-based 4K?

The current plans are to continue with community-based four-year-old kindergarten.

11. Why aren’t we building a new high school?

After examining the buildings and the long range facilities study, the Community Facilities Advisory Committee determined that the majority of the needs were at the elementary level. Although a new high school and several other solutions were examined, those options were determined to be too costly and didn’t solve as many needs as a new elementary solution.

12. What does STEM or STEAM mean?

STEM or STEAM is an instructional approach that blends: science (S), technology (T), engineering (E), art and/or agriculture (A), and math (M) to give our students cutting edge skills so they are ready to tackle whatever field they choose to pursue.

13. If a referendum passes in November 2018, when would the new ES open?

If the referendum should pass in November, the new elementary school would open for the 2020-21 school year.

severalroomshavenoaccesstorunningwater. Someoftheroomsmaybeusedforteacheroffices(physical education currently has offices on the “stage” in the gym) but we anticipate utilizing some of the space for much needed storage.

7. Are we going to build restrooms by the High School football field?

Yes, the referendum includes funds to create public restrooms by the fields.

8. Where is the proposed new elementary school located?

On the district owned land, by the Poynette Dekorra Fire Department

9. How does a new Elementary School (ES) impact current bussing?

The district will work with our transportation provider to determine the best routes and routing time. Bussing at the new ES will have its own drop-off/pick-up drive separated from other traffic. We anticipate the drop off/pick up process to be much smoother than our present method.

10. Will we still do community-based 4K?

The current plans are to continue with community-based four-year-old kindergarten.

11. Why aren’t we building a new high school?

After examining the buildings and the long range facilities study, the Community Facilities Advisory Committee determined that the majority of the needs were at the elementary level. Although a new high school and several other solutions were examined, those options were determined to be too costly and didn’t solve as many needs as a new elementary solution.

12. What does STEM or STEAM mean?

STEM or STEAM is an instructional approach that blends: science (S), technology (T), engineering (E), art and/or agriculture (A), and math (M) to give our students cutting edge skills so they are ready to tackle whatever field they choose to pursue.

13. If a referendum passes in November 2018, when would the new ES open?

If the referendum should pass in November, the potential new elementary school would open for the 2020-21 school year.

severalroomshavenoaccesstorunningwater. Someoftheroomsmaybeusedforteacheroffices(physical education currently has offices on the “stage” in the gym) but we anticipate utilizing some of the space for much needed storage.

7. Are we going to build restrooms by the High School football field?

Yes, the referendum includes funds to create public restrooms by the fields.

8. Where is the proposed new elementary school located?

On the district owned land, by the Poynette Dekorra Fire Department

9. How does a new Elementary School (ES) impact current bussing?

The district will work with our transportation provider to determine the best routes and routing time. Bussing at the new ES will have its own drop-off/pick-up drive separated from other traffic. We anticipate the drop off/pick up process to be much smoother than our present method.

10. Will we still do community-based 4K?

The current plans are to continue with community-based four-year-old kindergarten.

11. Why aren’t we building a new high school?

After examining the buildings and the long range facilities study, the Community Facilities Advisory Committee determined that the majority of the needs were at the elementary level. Although a new high school and several other solutions were examined, those options were determined to be too costly and didn’t solve as many needs as a new elementary solution.

12. What does STEM or STEAM mean?

STEM or STEAM is an instructional approach that blends: science (S), technology (T), engineering (E), art and/or agriculture (A), and math (M) to give our students cutting edge skills so they are ready to tackle whatever field they choose to pursue.

13. If a referendum passes in November 2018, when would the new ES open?

If the referendum should pass in November, the potential new elementary school would open for the 2020-21 school year.

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