Hilburn Academy, formerly known as Hilburn Drive Elementary, is transforming into a school containing grades K-8. In addition, the school will receive a major technological boost.
With the new elementary schools in the area, middle schools are becoming more crowded. Instead of building a whole new middle school, the school board decided to change Hilburn into a middle school and riddled it with all kinds of upgrades.
The Hilburn plan is projected to save $35 million dollars because they can make changes to Hilburn for $1 million instead of building a whole new school which would cost $36 million.
Mike Cassetta, head of the PTSA and Hilburn parent, said, “As a taxpayer, I am very excited about the changes coming to Hilburn Academy because they provide the community with a low-cost alternative to help deal with the overcrowded middle schools in our district.”
The county is also turning Hilburn into a science, technology, engineering and mathematics education program (STEM).
Parents seem to be very excited about these changes. Cassetta said, “The addition of a middle school, as well as the STEM curriculum, and the proposed extracurricular options, will allow my kids to be part of consistent academic environment from Kindergarten through 8th grade.”
Some of the planned changes include the following: giving a laptop of every child grades 6-8, SmartBoards in every classroom, Ipad carts, FaceTime with students around the world, and a new Mac lab.
The school will also offer a variety of classes, such as Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Cassetta explains that these changes are a result of hard work and are going to result in a better community all around.
Despite all the changes however, Hilburn plans to keep class sizes to about 24 students. For each grade they intend to have 3 classes. The board also aims to have teacher assistants in every Kindergarten class.
The arts are not forgotten either. Band will be offered for grades 5-8 and private orchestra lessons added. Classes for grades 6-8 will include dance, theater, public speaking, and visual arts.
To ensure that students at Hilburn get the full middle school experience, they will be allowed to try out for Leesville Road Middle School’s sports teams.
Ben Noga, fourth grader at Hilburn Drive Elementary, said, “The changes sound cool, but I like sports. It will be hard to go all the way to Leesville everyday to play.”
Certain people do have different thoughts about the alterations, though.
Emily Putnam, sister of Hilburn student, said, “I think the school will end up becoming really overcrowded because they are just adding 3 more grades to a regular sized elementary school.”
Hilburn Academy has bright plans for their future. We will soon see the effects that this newly changed school will bring to our community.