GIPS Announces Two New “Feeder” Schools for Westridge Middle School
Grand Island Public Schools is making some strategic adjustments to better champion student opportunities and teacher support. Beginning in the upcoming ‘22 - ‘23 school year, two more schools — Gates & Knickrehm Elementary — will begin serving as “feeder” schools to Westridge Middle School, but only for incoming 6th graders.
Here is how the new transition will look:
Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year the ‘21-’22 5th graders from Gates Elementary will attend Westridge Middle School instead of Barr.
Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year the ‘21-’22 5th graders from Knickrehm will attend Westridge Middle School instead of Walnut.
To better prepare our students, teachers, staff, and buildings for a thriving ‘22-’23 school year, GIPS wants to ensure every student has the best opportunity possible to learn and grow. In monitoring campus enrollments along with student registrations for the upcoming school year (which ended on May 15th) the district was clearly headed for another year of overcrowding at Barr and Walnut with Westridge under capacity as has been the trend in recent years.
Additionally, when we considered all the insight we received from staff and building leaders, it became clear adding more “feeder” schools to Westridge would be the most proactive step we may take to begin balancing the enrollment across the three middle schools. The Gates & Knickrehm adjustment will also help ensure the most equitable opportunities for students and better support our teachers.
Through this shift in feeder schools to Westridge, both quality learning and the highest level of safety can be provided for our students.
“As Grand Island Public Schools grows, we’re very fortunate for the forethought of the Board of Education and the district.” Dr. Tawana Grover, GIPS Superintendent, explained, “Westridge was built, in part, to help accommodate the exciting growth we have. The leadership at Westridge is well-equipped and offers a very positive and inclusive attitude and is ready to fully welcome the outstanding students from Gates and Knickrehm.
GIPS is proud of the high-quality experiences and choices offered across all three middle schools including financial literacy, fine arts, sports, and many clubs. As we continue to thrive, we are grateful for all the opportunities our students have at the middle school level.”
More details and FAQs about Gates and Knickrehm to Westridge transition may be found on the GIPS district web-site HERE.
GIPS would also like to invite incoming 6th Grade students and families from Gates and Knickrehm to an Open House at Westridge on Wednesday, June 8th, from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Administration from Westridge, Gates, and Knickrehm will all be on-site ready to help facilitate the upcoming transition, provide support, give tours, and answer any questions.
Throughout the last few years we have seen a growing trend of both Barr and Walnut Middle Schools eclipsing their building capacity while Westridge has been steadily operating at under capacity. While each of these three schools are rich with student opportunities, we recognize that the best way to ensure greater equity within the district and to cultivate vibrant learning environments while maintaining optimum safety is to establish a better balance of enrollment between the three schools.
Below is a snapshot of middle school capacity levels and projected enrollment for the upcoming ‘22-’23 school year (infographic also attached).
MIDDLE SCHOOL CAPACITY LEVELS:
Barr Capacity = 725
Walnut Capacity = 875
Westridge Capacity = 700
LAST YEAR’S MIDDLE SCHOOL ENROLLMENT (‘21-’22):
Barr = 775
Walnut = 849
Westridge = 556
PROJECTED ‘22 - ‘23 ENROLLMENT AS OF 5/15/2022 (WITHOUT GATES & KNICKREHM CHANGE):
Barr = 764
Walnut = 901
Westridge = 565
PROJECTED ‘22-’23 ENROLLMENT WITH GATES & KNICKREHM TO WESTRIDGE:
Barr = 704
Walnut = 878
Westridge = 648
Allowing incoming 6th Grade Students from Gates and Knickrehm respectively to attend Westridge will help alleviate the overcrowding at the other two middle schools while granting Westridge an opportunity to occupy their building to its greater potential.
“We are excited to welcome Gates and Knickrehm students and parents to Westridge!” Mr. Brad Wolfe, Westridge Principal shared, “We’re also grateful to be a part of bringing greater equity and a more balanced student enrollment with GIPS middle schools. Our team is here and ready to help the transition be as supportive as possible for families and students. We want to see every student succeed and are looking forward to our community coming together in sharing Cougar pride as we start a new school year. The future of Westridge is bright!”
While we are excited about the outlook of Middle School education in GIPS we also understand this may be a sensitive change. Please know, the Westridge staff are excited to welcome you, Gates & Knickrehm students and families. They are already working to make this adjustment as accommodating and exciting as possible.
For more information, families may visit this FAQ page on the GIPS district web-site. Families may also reach out to any of the building Principals at Westridge, Gates, or Knickrehm and are invited to attend the Westridge Open House next Wednesday, July 8th from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.