SCHOOL WITHIN A SCHOOL: New Proposal Calls For Majority Of Wildwood Students To Be Moved To MIDDLE SCHOOL Until New School Is Built

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington School Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand recently announced details of a proposed plan that would house a majority of displaced Wildwood School students and teachers at the Middle School, beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, for the next 5-7 years, until a new school is built.

The plan, unveiled at a meeting of the Wildwood School Building Committee on November 29, would relocate 7 classrooms with approximately 100-110 Wildwood students, currently housed at the Shawsheen and Woburn Street schools, to the Middle School. The plan keeps 5 existing classrooms with approximately 75-80 Wildwood students at the West Intermediate.

At the Middle School, Wildwood students would move into the lower wing, near the library media center. The library media center would be relocated, and its current space would be used by Wildwood students for art, music, library and lunch.

Brand listed several benefits of the proposed plan, including:

  • Wildwood students and teachers will have an improved learning and teaching space, compared to the current Wildwood School.
  • The plan can be maintained until the opening of a new school facility.
  • The space at the Middle School will allow for the creation of a small “school-within-a-school” setting.
  • Wildwood staff can meet regularly with colleagues.
  • Middle School can provide space for a staff break area, staff meetings, and professional development.
  • Wildwood staff travel will be reduced with schools across the street.
  • There is sufficient space on the Middle School campus to create appropriate outdoor play space.
  • The plan can be implemented for the fall of the 2023-2024 school year.

Brand also acknowledged several challenges of the proposed plan, such as:

  • The plan still requires Wildwood staff to be split across multiple sites.
  • The plan results in approximately 6-8 Middle School staff that will need to travel from room to room to deliver their classes.
  • Additional age-appropriate restroom facilities will need to be constructed.
  • The library media center will need to be relocated elsewhere in the building.
  • There will be some degree of disruption with ongoing construction while the Middle School is in session this school year.

Costs to implement the plan are still being researched. Major expenses include: (1) additional restroom facilities; (2) outdoor playground space; (3) storage space; (4) technology-related equipment; and (5) movement of library media center resources. There may be also be additional costs associated with maintaining 5 “Wildwood” classrooms at the West for the next 5-7 years. Brand anticipates cost estimates will be finalized in “the coming weeks.”

Following Brand’s presentation, Wildwood School Building Committee members offered more than 30 minutes of questions and comments. Members were glad to hear Brand stress that Wildwood students and Middle School students would not be co-mingling, with Wildwood students having their dedicated section of the building, with its own classrooms, hallways, bathrooms, lunch room, and school entrance.

While no formal vote was taken, a majority of Wildwood School Building Committee members spoke in favor of the proposal. None spoke against it.

School Committee members Melissa Plowman and David Ragsdale, both members of the Building Committee, did not want all of the Committee’s attention exclusively on the Middle School, and were interested in learning more about potential upgrades and associated costs for the West, now that the building is expected to house 5 of the 12 Wildwood classrooms for the next 5-7 years. Since the West has never had a playground, Plowman suggested the new temporary playground for the Wildwood students be constructed at the West, not the Middle School, and be a permanent classroom for West students to use after the Wildwood students move out.

The School Committee will review Brand’s proposal at its next meeting on Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 7pm in the High School’s Large Instruction Room, with a vote expected at its following meeting on Wednesday, December 21, 2022.

The Wildwood School Building Committee next meets on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at 6pm via ZOOM.

School Within A School

Wildwood students would be housed within the circled area of the Middle School’s 1st Floor.

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