Lawrence’s high school principals said the transition to a ninth- through 12th-grade system is benefiting the district in many areas but added they are continuing to evaluate facility needs at the high schools.
The principals were giving a midyear report to the Lawrence school board in the first year of the new system.
Ninth-graders, in addition to the athletic opportunities they had last year, added co-curricular activities this year.
Participation in high school debate had increased by 100 percent since the addition of ninth-graders, said Matt Brungardt, principal of Lawrence High School.
The new seven-period day has led to increased elective options for students, too, the principals said.
Traffic flow is still “a little bit of an issue” at Free State High School, Brungardt said, but not as much at Lawrence High.
Board member Shannon Kimball asked the principals whether they had evaluated their facilities needs yet. That work is still ongoing, but Brungardt said the top priority at Lawrence High is the cafeteria space.
On cold days like Monday, when few students opt to eat off campus, the cafeteria can get pretty full, he said.
“We know in the future if we grow, we’re going to outgrow our cafeteria,” he said.
At Free State, the most notable strain is in classroom space, said Principal Ed West. “We now have more teachers than we have classrooms,” he said.
The schools are also looking at ways to reincorporate the seminar period that allowed students to get help, make up exams and labs, and make use of other tutoring opportunities during the school day. Mark Bradford, board chairman, thanked the principals and their staffs for their work during the transition.
In other business:
l The board was scheduled to approve five people to a finance advisory committee, but Rick Doll, superintendent, said he erred and did not get information on the applicants to all board members, so the board is scheduled to reconsider the appointments in two weeks.
l Though the schools consolidation working group was meeting upstairs at the same time, the board did not specifically discuss the issue.