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Fall 2024: Sartell Middle School is changing its schedule to increase the depth of learning for students

This message was sent to ISD 748 staff and families. It is posted on our Announcements page under District Announcements.

ISD 748 Families:

Our District’s focus is on student learning and teaching. Our students are our priority. 

Beginning in the fall of 2024, Sartell Middle School is changing its schedule to increase the depth of learning for students. While current students in grades 5-7 will experience the schedule next year, I wanted to make sure all families were aware of these important changes.

The draft 2024 schedule will maximize learning time in core and specialist classes in addition to increasing prep time for staff. In short, the revised schedule is intended for the highest quality programming designed to meet the needs of students that is cost effective and sustainable.

Class schedules
A middle school student course load currently includes:

  • Core Learning (English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies); 
  • Specialist offerings (Art, Family and Consumer Science (FACS), General Music, Physical Education,  Project Lead the Way (PLTW), Theatre, and World Language); 
  • What I Need (WIN) - originally for tutorial assistance, but currently used for music ensembles and other purposes
  • Advisory - students have the same advisor and student group from grades 6-8.

Below is a comparison of the potential schedule impacts:

comparison of schedules

Student experience

  • WIN: Incorporated into the core subjects. May include other times during the week. 
  • Music: It is our hope that the revised schedule will increase the number of students who participate in ensembles. Students in all grade levels will benefit from at least one music experience each year in turn increasing the number of students participating in ensembles. All sixth grade students will be required to take part in one music ensemble. Students in grades 7 and 8 will be encouraged to continue with their music selection, although alternative music exploratory courses will be offered. 
  • Physical Education: The new schedule will include PE for students, every other day, for the entire school year. 
  • Special Education: In conjunction with the special education department, student and teacher schedules will be created to optimize service time. We are in the early stages of this process. 
  • Classes like PLTW, Art, Spanish, FACS, and Theatre will be 80 minutes every other day by trimester. PE/Music will be 40 minutes each every other day all year (NOTE: This may be subject to change based on our ability to hire licensed teachers).

Staffing impacts

  • The middle school will have three full-time music teachers (only serving at SMS) - consisting of one full-time band teacher, one full-time choir teacher, and one full-time orchestra teacher.  Music teachers will also have the opportunity to create and teach additional exploratory classes in grades 7 and 8 including theatre. 
  • The middle school will have three full-time Physical Education teachers.

The revision process began in October and involved several administrative staff along the way to gain their input. Beginning in January, this information was shared with various staff groups, SMS staff on February 2, and a follow up meeting with SMS staff on February 5. We wanted to allow our staff some time to digest these changes prior to sharing with the larger community. 

For more details, please view this Q & A document. As always, please feel free to contact me with questions you may have. There will also be a detailed presentation on Monday, February 26 at the regular school board meeting.

Thank you--

Tom Lee

Interim Superintendent
Sartell-St. Stephen Public Schools