District prepares for change

JOHNSTOWN – The Greater Johnstown School District is readying transportation needs for the district’s conversion to elementary school grade-level grouping in September.

Superintendent Robert DeLilli and the three elementary principals involved gave the Board of Education an update on the new classroom plan, especially as it relates to transportation, Thursday at Glebe Street Elementary School.

DeLilli said district administrators met with transportation staff a couple times recently to go over the concept of what will be a new shuttle bus system involving grade-level grouping.

“There’s a tremendous amount of planning and effort to go into it,” he said.

Warren Street Elementary School Principal Scott Ziomek said he’s “confident” the shuttle bus and the regular bus transportation this fall will work.

“I think it’s good,” Ziomek said. “I think we’re staying proactive with it, ahead of the curve.”

The city’s three elementary school buildings will undergo a conversion with the 2014-15 school year, from neighborhood-based schools to grade-level grouping. District officials say the new system will be a more efficient way of educating elementary school students.

Grades at the elementary schools will be placed this way: prekindergarten, kindergarten and first grade at Pleasant Avenue Elementary School; grades two and three at Glebe Street Elementary School; and grades four, five and six at Warren Street Elementary School.

The Board of Education’s Grade Level Grouping Committee will meet next at 5 p.m. April 23 in the Knox Junior High School library.

Glebe Street Elementary School Principal Abbey North said the district will conduct a Transportation Information Night in the near future. The shuttle run will also be tested.

“There will be a trial run before this school year’s over,” said Pleasant Avenue Elementary School Principal Jeff Vivenzio.

He said the plan is to put buses at maximum capacity, and the district anticipates more students using bus transportation.

Ziomek said forms will be going out soon to parents to determine which families will utilize the shuttle system. He said the district needs to narrow down who will use that system versus traditional bussing.

Vivenzio said principals have also met with parents and gained some “very good insight” into what their transportation needs will be.

“They have a pivotal role,” the principal said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com