Johnstown officials eye smooth grade grouping transition

JOHNSTOWN – The Greater Johnstown School District foresees a smooth transition this summer with teachers moving to new buildings for this fall’s new districtwide grade-level grouping plan.

The district is dedicating its three elementary schools to specific grades starting in the fall. School officials said this will be a more efficient way to teach elementary school students, who currently attend one of the three neighborhood elementary schools in kindergarten through grades six. District officials anticipate 900 children will be affected by grade-level grouping, as well as 200 staff members.

City elementary schools will be configured this way: pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade at Pleasant Avenue Elementary School; grades two and three at Glebe Street Elementary School; grades four, five and six at Warren Street Elementary School.

District Superintendent Robert DeLilli gave an update on grade-level grouping at the Board of Education’s organizational meeting Tuesday at Johnstown High School.

He said teachers who are affected are already starting to move.

“We’re looking forward to a smooth summer as far as that transition,” DeLilli said.

Leo Loveless, district director of facilities and operations, said his crews have six or seven rooms in each of the three elementary buildings “cleaned already” for the transition.

According to the district website, a district shuttle will transport students between the three elementary schools for students who live inside the city limits. City limits are defined as: for kindergarten: living within 0.5 miles from the closest elementary school to your residence; for grades one through sixth: living within 1.5 miles from the closest elementary school to your residence, the website says.

For the second consecutive meeting, school officials discussed what would be appropriate as a common “mascot” for the three elementary schools now that neighborhood schools were eliminated. The discussion will continue with further input by the principals.

“I think the elementary principals were concerned about the identity,” said board Vice President Jennifer Sponnoble.

Fireworks praised

In other discussion, board member Ron Beck praised the “wonderful” community fireworks display recently at Knox Field, which he said was funded entirely by donations.

In regular action, the board appointed Erica Askew, Allison Busch and Erica Wagner as summer lifeguards at a salary of $8 per hour.

The board accepted DeLilli’s recommendation to adopt a textbook – ” Go! Office 2013″ by Gaskin, Vargas and McLellan – for use at JHS with the Computer Applications course.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at