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Hennessy to add fifth grade

Hennessy School will start a fifth grade in the new scholastic year in August. With this addition, it becomes the second kindergarten through fifth grade school to be created in recent times in the Grass Valley School district.

Margaret G. Scotten School was the first, adding kindergarten, first and second grades to its pre-existing third, fourth, and fifth grades last year. Hennessy, which was formerly a kindergarten through third grade school, added it’s fourth grade in the 2005-06 academic year.

“It’s very positive,” said Jon Byerrum, superintendent of the Grass Valley school district, about the effects of creating two kindergarten through fifth grade institutes. “There are several advantages. We believe a K through 5 school is better for instructional delivery. We believe it’s better for students to be at the elementary school level for six years and then go on to a comprehensive middle school. It also helps families with transportation.”



Margaret Eli, principal at the Hennessy School, said many parents objected to their kids’ going to many different schools instead of one K-5 institute.

“A year ago, there was a committee,” she said. “It was made up of parents, teachers, and administration to decide what configuration we liked best and the committee recommended that both Hennessy and Scotten become K though fifth grade.”




According to Byerrum, the conversion of Hennessy and Scotten into K-5 institutes has not created new seats: It’s simply a rearrangement of students.

For instance the kindergarten, first and second grades at Scotten school will be filled by kindergartners, first- and second-graders from Bell Hill School, which closed last year.

“The new K-5 configuration is better for our program,” Byerrum said. “It makes more sense to have K through fifth grade students in one school.”

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To contact staff writer Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@theunion.com or call 477-4229.


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