SISD continues its 2020 transition throughout the summer

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Dillingham Intermediate is one of many campuses in Sherman that will undergo major work this summer as a part of district-wide transitions. Starting this fall, the school will transition into being an elementary campus.

While students in Sherman prepare to start the summer break, Sherman Independent School District crews are preparing to start a series of projects and transitions for many district schools.

Over the coming months, crews will work to finish the district's Transition 2020 plan, which will see the district open a second middle, a second early childhood center, transition away from the intermediate school model and transition a retiring campus into its new alternative school campus. In this transition, the district will be completing minor renovations, and changes to some campuses to 

"The summer months are extremely busy for all school districts, including Sherman ISD, because it is a time for us to start on major projects that typically cannot be done while children are inside the building," SISD Director of Communication Kimberly Simpson said. "This gives us a time for our maintenance departments to go in and handle projects throughout the district.

The Transition 2020 plan was started in response to the opening of the new Sherman High School. With the new campus, the district was able to transition the existing school into a second middle school, which will provide additional capacity for middle-school students.

"Obviously because of our transition 2020, we are opening up a new middle school," Simpson said. "So, Sherman Middle School, which was formerly Sherman High School, just has some renovations and updates that need to be done before it totally transitions into a middle school."

This changes to the middle school level necessitated two other changes on the elementary level. The district will no longer be using the intermediate school model, which will allow Dillingham Intermediate School to transition into Dillingham Elementary. The addition of a second middle and a new elementary school also required the district to remap the attendance zones for the schools to create clear pathways from elementary to middle school.

This coincides with the district's transition to all day pre-kindergarten classes and the addition of a second early childhood center at the former Perrin Learning Center. The Jefferson Elementary Campus will be transitioning into the new alternative school for the district as it has since been retired as an elementary campus.

As a major part of the project, the new campuses will be receiving new furnishings to better fit their new students. While some campuses may be able to utilize some of the furniture, more will likely be needed.

As an example, Simpson said that Dillingham's furniture for the fifth and sixth grades will fit the older students, however, new furniture will be needed for the younger students. In other cases, campuses may have deferred furniture needs in the last few years with expectation of the transition and new furniture to meet its future need.

Some of the changes will be routine upgrades and repairs, including new painting at the two middle schools and flooring throughout the district. Piner Middle School will receive energy management enhancements along heating and air improvements.

Others changes might be less obvious, but still very visible, Simpson said. While previously Dillingham had no need for a playground, due to its older students, the next class will need the equipment. Likewise, Jefferson will be transitioning out its equipment and transferring it to Perrin.

"I think that those are a few things that people wouldn't think of, and moving and purchasing playgrounds is a large task," she said.

Meanwhile, crews will be completing final projects at Sherman High School in the coming months. The school was initially expected to open its doors for students last fall, however, wet weather and construction delays led the district to push this back until January. Even then, there was still work to do.

"One of the projects we look forward to is putting in the actual bearcat statue that is going to be at the entrance," she said. "That hasn't been done yet and that is a project that they are going to work on over the summer."

Despite these big changes across the district, Simpson said teachers and district leaders have been prepared and ready for what has been years in the making. Since October, the district has begun preparations for the moves to the various campuses, including plans on how to move teaching supplies and other items between the campuses.  Now that the time has come, the district just needs to follow these plans, she said.

"It is a huge project, but once again, with strategic planning over the past three years we've been planning for this," she said. "It is a lot of moving pieces, but they've been moving for some time. So, literally, the last piece is transitioning into the building in anticipation of August."