for a moving experience
who has packed up the family and relocated across town or across
the country might be able to appreciate what the Brandywine
School District is in for during the coming summer. Just
multiply one eight-room house by 14 and it begins to come into
more-than-two-year process of closing two schools
and realigning the district's grade configuration
from four tiers to three will reach a climax when
moving vans begin shuffling among the 14 district
school buildings affected by the changes.
gets started on June 10, the day after teachers
complete the current academic year. Everything will
be in place and ready to start the new year on or
before Aug. 17, according to Barbara Meredith,
director of support services, who has responsibility
for directing the physical realignment of the
are not just generic target dates. "Failure is not
an option," Meredith declares when asked what she
considers to be the odds of meeting the
not to say that she and other administrators and
staff involved with executing the moving plan expect
it to be accomplished without challenges.
administrative team which planned and is
coordinating the moves required to realign the
Brandywine School District consists of (from
left) Gwen Looby, energy management specialist;
Traci Fraley, safety and security specialist; and
Barbara Meredith, director of support services. The
charts on the wall plot the new alignment of
classrooms in each of the district's school
school except the district's three high schools will be
Middle and Darley Road Elementary, which will be shut down after
classes are dismissed for the last time in June, will contribute
furniture and equipment to the schools which remain.
• Springer Middle,
which has been located this year in the Burnett building in
north Wilmington while its building on Shipley Road in
Brandywine Hundred was being renovated, will move back. It and
Talley Middle will be expanded by adding sixth grade to their
previous seventh and eighth grades.
• P.S. du Pont
Intermediate will become the district's third middle school,
with the same grade configuration. It previously has had fourth,
fifth and sixth grades. P.S. also will exchange its kindergarten
for a new technical education and family consumer science
• Claymont and
Harlan, the other intermediate schools, will become
kindergarten-through-fifth grade elementary schools. The P.S.
kindergarten moves to Harlan.
• Maple Lane
Elementary, which expanded by adding a sixth grade this year,
will revert to being a kindergarten-through-fifth grade school.
• All the other
kindergarten-through-third grade elementary schools --
Brandywood, Carrcroft, Forwood, Lancashire, Lombardy and Mount
Pleasant -- will add fourth and fifth grades.
All that shuffling
requires that classrooms be aligned by grade and age-appropriate
furnishings be correctly placed. About 400 student desks and
some 600 chairs will have to be moved to accomplish that.
Springer, which will get new furniture as part of its
separately-financed renovation, the buildings will be equipped
with existing hardware. With two buildings being closed, there
will be more available than needed. The excess, Meredith said,
will be disposed of according the state's surplus-disposal
The moving, of
course, has a people-impact. About a third of the district's
10,000 students and 1,100 teachers and building staffs will find
themselves in new surroundings come August.
Open houses for the
youngsters and their families will be scheduled before the new
year begins. Teachers have already been meeting with their new
sets of colleagues. Reassignments have been made cooperatively
with the Brandywine Education Association, the teachers' union,
and in accordance with contractual seniority provisions,
Since the school
board approved the realignment in February, 2008, there has been
a complex interrelated planning process. "We have a curriculum
plan, a library plan, an athletic plan, a cafeteria plan -- none
of this has been done in a vacuum," she said.
custodians, teachers and building staffs will not participate in
the actual moving. But each teacher and staff member is
responsible for packing district-owned material they use and
labeling the cartons. Whether the boxes are to go to a new
building or to a different part of the same building, the
requirements are the same.
Meredith said the
16,000 cartons the district purchased for that purpose will be
recycled after the move is completed. In keeping with the
district's intent to have a 'business-as-usual' atmosphere from
the first day in its new configuration, she said the proverbial
after-move 'living-out-of-boxes' has been outlawed.
Bayshore Transportation Systems was selected as the professional
mover on the basis of its response to an open request for
proposal, Meredith said.
The district has
allotted $1 million to cover the cost of space consolidation and
realignment. Chief financial officer David Blowman said that
less than $100,000 of that had been spent through the end of