Yesterday, I called York City School Board member Jane Hines to get her thoughts on the votes made Wednesday to close Hannah Penn and Edgar Fahs Smith middle schools and move the elementary schools to a kindergarten – eighth grade structure.
Why did I call Hines? Prior to becoming a school board member, Hines had been principal at Smith Middle School. She retired in 2011.
I thought that gave her a particularly unique perspective on the move.
“It was an emotional time for me because I spent the majority of my adult career at Smith Middle School,” Hines said. She had previously taught math there, as well.
Hines voted in favor of closing Smith and Hannah Penn and in favor of moving to the K-8 structure.
Decisions have to be made based on what’s best for all children, she said, and she thinks the move to K-8 will be a good one.
“I think that having the community, the students going to community schools is going to be good for a lot of reasons,” Hines said.
The schools will have smaller numbers of seventh- and eighth-graders instead of large concentrations, she said. The middle schools often had difficulties with some behavior issues.
Having students return to their home elementary schools and to those elementary teachers who influenced them at early age will be “extremely beneficial for them,” she said.
“I think this is going to be a positive for everyone,” Hines said.