Students in Bridgewater, Killington, Plymouth, Pomfret, Reading, and Woodstock can attend any of the four elementary schools
Students and families in the new Windsor Central Unified District (WCUD), which consists of the towns of Bridgewater, Killington, Plymouth, Pomfret, Reading, and Woodstock) can now choose which of the four district elementary schools they would like to attend.
“Those seeking a small school with multi-age classrooms, an outdoor classroom, and an abundance of family and community events might choose Reading Elementary,” wrote Michelle Fountain, WCSU Communications Liaison, in a Feb. 15 news release. “Families looking for single-grade classes and a connection with Killington Mountain for the winter Trailblazers Ski and Ride program as well as full school musicals and reading buddies can select Killington Elementary School. Students who want to study the stars might choose the Prosper Valley School with its Horizons Observatory, nature trails, and a sugar house. Families seeking a larger school with class sizes of 18-20, a STEM (science, engineering, technology and math) Lab and a Farm-to-School Cafe could choose Woodstock Elementary School,” Fountain continued.
The goals for the Intra-district School Choice Program (a key provision in the Act 46 plan put forth by the WCSU Act 46 Committee) are to meet the diverse needs of the student population, balance class sizes in all schools, create optimal learning environments, and provide options for families.
“Our member towns voted to merge together to provide more opportunities for students and families. This is an early attempt to take advantage of that. Each family has a complex set of needs and this gives families more options to determine the best learning environment for their children,” WCUD Superintendent Mary Beth Banios explained.
Students already enrolled in their local school who wish to stay there, do not need to do anything; their spot is guaranteed, as first priority is always given to families currently living in that town and attending that school.
Should a family wish to change schools, the application process is simple. It can be completed online or by getting a paper application at any of the elementary schools. The deadline for the first round of applications is March 15 and families will hear in late April about acceptance into their chosen school. More information about all four schools and the application can be found at wcsu.net/schoolchoice#learnmore.
A second round of applications will be taken on August 1 that also expands the choice option to new people who have moved into the area.
Acceptance for each school will be governed by the goals for school choice listed previously, along with classroom space availability and impacts to overall programming across the district. Transportation for intra-district school choice will be the responsibility of the parents but there may be limited school bus routes made available to parents when routes and school choice applications are finalized.
Once a student is accepted to a school, he or she will be able to stay there through the highest grade and admitting siblings to the same school will be a priority when space allows for it.
“Any opportunity that people have to make a choice on behalf of their children is a positive one,” Laird Bradley, owner and principal broker of Williamson Group Sotheby’s International Realty said, noting that choice has generally been a positive factor as people look at where they want to purchase a home.