Fact Sheet: Modular Unit Installation and Use at Stony Creek Elementary School

Fact Sheet: Modular Unit Installation and Use at Stony Creek Elementary School (and Related Future Matters)

A Letter to the Stony Creek Community Regarding Classroom Space - June 2018

Details regarding the Modular Unit for the 2018-19 School Year

1. QUESTION: When will the modular unit be ready?

ANSWER: The modular unit is projected to be ready for use in early October (ideally by the end of September). We are trying to have it operational as soon as possible. The limiting variable is the electric work needed to supply power to the unit and enable the school’s intercom and alarm systems to be operative in the unit. The modular unit will be on site in August, and then an electrical contractor will begin work as soon as bids are received and a contract is awarded. Whitpain Township has been an incredibly valuable partner in this endeavor, expediting all requisite permits and approvals and offering whatever support the district may need.


2. QUESTION: How much space will the modular unit provide?

ANSWER: The modular unit is necessary to provide for 1-2 more homeroom classrooms inside the school building. Either the music classrooms or the library will be located in the modular unit. This decision will be made in August. Moving the music classrooms to the modular unit would make available one full size classroom and one small group space. Moving the library to the modular unit would make available two full size classrooms.


3. QUESTION: Where will the modular be located, how will it be accessed, and what provisions are in place for the comfort of the staff and students in the modular?

ANSWER: The modular unit will be located on the side of the building, adjacent to the blacktop playground area. Students will use the recess area doors at the end of the hallway by the lunchroom to access the unit. Modular units have been greatly improved in recent years and have all the normal comfort features (heating, air conditioning, intercom/phone, alarm systems, etc.) of regular classrooms.


4.
QUESTION: What safety provisions will be in place?

ANSWER: Students going to/from the modular unit will be escorted by a staff member at all times, including restroom breaks. This is the same approach to safety that we currently follow when students are outside at gym class and recess. The doors for the modular unit will be locked at all times. The staff moving with students to/from the modular unit will have key access for entry. Security cameras will be allow for additional monitoring of the movement to/from the modular unit. Additionally, students and staff in the modular unit will be able to hear and respond to any fire alarm on the school property and exit safely to the blacktop.


5. QUESTION: Will the modular unit be attached to the building?

ANSWER: No. There will be a short exterior walk (approx. 50 feet) from the building to the modular. This decision was made after considering the short-term nature of the modular lease (2 years) and location options on school property (e.g. entry/connection points, location of power lines, etc.).


6. QUESTION: What if the decision to install a modular unit was not made?

ANSWER: If the modular unit as the short-term solution was not implemented, the other options that were considered included music/library on a cart or increased class sizes. It was not feasible to implement a re-districting solution in time for the 2018-19 school year. There are many logistical challenges associated with re-districting, not the least of which are transportation adjustments district-wide.


Student Enrollment and Future Options

7. QUESTION: What is the capacity of Stony Creek and what is the projected enrollment for 2018-19?

ANSWER: The current functional capacity of Stony Creek (before the modular becomes operational) is calculated to be 525 students, and the projected 2018-19 enrollment is 518 students, which includes all registrations to date. Registrations continue during the summer, with and without appointments. This is the best answer we can provide at this time, considering everything at our disposal (including weekly registration checks). It is important to note that enrollment projection is much more of an art than it is a science, and our experience indicates that family plans can (and do) often change over the summer without much warning or notice.



8. QUESTION: What are the plans for the future?

ANSWER: Stony Creek’s enrollment has risen dramatically in the past several years, and this year’s registered kindergarten class (at this point anyway) appears to continue that trend. The modular unit is our best short-term solution (1-2 years). Beyond that, the district will begin a formal, public conversation in the fall of 2018 about long-term options. This conversation will begin with a professional enrollment projection study for the entire district. Options that can be explored may include adjusting the district’s elementary school boundaries, known as “re-districting,” expanding the district’s K-5 capacity (construction), etc. Regarding the construction option, Stony Creek’s “core areas” (cafeteria, gym, etc.) cannot support additional classrooms without expanding the core areas as well (which will greatly increase the cost of any construction project at that school). Lastly, please note that redistricting does not mean that Wissahickon students will go to another school district.

Questions

Any questions about the planned installation of the modular unit can be submitted via email to Ms. Teena Derkosh at tderkosh@wsdweb.org or 215-619-8000 ext. 1110. All questions will be answered as soon as possible. This information is available on the district website and will be updated regularly.


Updates

COMMUNITY QUESTION: As the unit will not be available for the start of the year, how will the first few months be handled?

ANSWER: It is our intention to ensure that the students of Stony Creek experience a smooth and positive start to the coming school year. Dr. Taylor is working closely with the district’s Director of Facilities to minimize the potential impact on the day-to-day operations of the school. A plan is expected to be finalized later in August as to whether the library or music program will be located in the modular units. Once that plan is finalized, Dr. Taylor will communicate the details of the plan to the Stony Creek families and staff.


DISTRICT UPDATE: Our Modular Classroom Unit & Encore Faculty Update

Our modular classroom unit has also arrived at Stony Creek, and we are appreciative of the additional instructional space. For the 2018-2019 school year, our students will have their general music classes and instrumental lessons (if in the band or orchestra) in the modular unit. As you are probably aware, the classroom teachers escort their students to and from all encore classes, and this will also be true for general music. Our instrumental lesson students come from various classes, a classroom assistant has been hired for the primary purpose of escorting these students from the building to the modular classroom and back again. The assistant will also be available for those individual instances (e.g. bathroom, nurse, etc.) where a student needs to be accompanied from the modular unit back into the school building. We are excited about our additional instructional space.

Additionally, we are also pleased to have additional encore faculty this year in order to enjoy more typical class size instructional groups in art, health and physical education, and general music.