Making the tiger mascot friendlier looking, kids filling balloons with notes and changed bus routes were all ideas the Cortland Enlarged City School District’s transition team considered Tuesday.
The committee is planning ways to ease the transition from five elementary schools to three grade centers next July when Parker and Virgil elementary schools close. Among the conversations:
New names, same mascot
New names for the three remaining buildings were suggested:
• Franklyn S. Barry Primary School.
• F. E. Smith Intermediate School.
• Randall Middle School.
The committee is still planning what the mascots should look like, though it agreed to sticking with the Cortland Tigers as opposed to calling the younger grades the Cortland Cubs, for instance.
“I think they should be Cortland Tigers from day one,” said Sandra Attleson, a committee member. “They are all in it together, kindergarten to 12th grade.”
However, the committee floated ideas to create “friendlier” versions of tigers for the grade centers.
Easing transportation worries
Superintendent Michael Hoose said the district is considering getting tokens so families who normally walk to nearby school events could ride the Cortland Transit bus system, instead.
“We have to see if we can, through grant money,” Hoose said after the meeting.
Bus route changes could mean new opportunities for more-efficient bus routes, said district Business Administrator Kim Vile.
Bus drivers now maneuver many narrow streets, she said. The buses will be changing their routes anyway, and stopping at multiple schools.
“It may be an opportunity to get us on more regularly scheduled roads that are safer,” Vile said.
Team-building exercises suggested
Committee member Shannon Constantino suggested kids could take part in team-building exercises.
Perhaps Parker Elementary students could write down ways the school has shaped their lives and what they are looking for from the next school, she said. That note could then be put in a balloon or perhaps a time capsule.
Or perhaps children could plant flowers or line walkways together to build relationships among kids who would otherwise be strangers, she said.
“We speak of the need to bring closure to a group,” said Constantino, a school counseling intern. “Think about, ‘What did I get from this school,’ and transitioning, ‘What do I have to look forward to’, so you have both closure and what’s to come.”
The district plans open houses in all the new schools.
“If they do that right then, everyone is on the same page and acclimated to their new environment,” she said.