jackie-haywood_web.jpgCORAL SPRINGS — Parents of children attending Coral Springs Elementary School can look forward to having them stay there another year, with the proposed addition of a sixth grade.

The announcement came Feb. 13 during another in a two-month series of Student Success Opportunity School  (SSOS) symposiums organized by Broward County Public Schools.

The change will take place at the school, 3601 NW 110th Ave., beginning with the 2014-15 school year, when parents will have the option of keeping their children at the school or have them advance to Coral Springs Middle School, 10300 W. Wiles Road.

 A spokesperson for Broward Schools said the change is subject to approval by the school board. There are currently three “combination schools” in the county:  Broward College 6-12 in Lauderhill, Dillard 6-12 in Fort Lauderdale and Beachside Montessori Village Pre K-8 in Hollywood. The majority of students at both Coral Springs Elementary and Coral Springs Middle are minorities.

The elementary school is 82 percent minority and a similar percentage receive free or reduced price lunch, indicating they come from low-income families. The school has been on a downward spiral on the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT) exam. For the years 2004-11, the school received either an A or a B grade on the FCAT but the grade dropped to C in 2012 and then to D in 2013.

 Some 65 percent of the students attending the middle school are minorities and 51 percent receive free or reduced price lunch. The school scored a B on the FCAT in 2013 and has never received a lower letter grade since the state-mandated test started in the 1998-99 school year.

The upcoming change was among topics discussed when representatives from the school district met a handful of parents and students, mainly from the elementary school, during the latest SSOS symposiums, held at Coral Springs Middle.

“We are offering a choice for parents,” said Jackie Haywood, Broward Schools director of school performance and accountability. “[Parents] see continuity as important.” Haywood said based on results there is a possibility that Coral Springs Elementary could add a seventh and an eighth grade in following school years.

“We want input from you so you can get what you want for your children,” Broward County School Board District 4 member Abby Freedman told the audience. According to Mark Quintana, coordinator of the Broward Schools Strategic Achievement Department, the symposium targets specific schools.

“There are certain schools that the state [of Florida] wants us to work with,” Quintana said. “This is your opportunity to provide your input for the changes at your schools.” Shawn Lopez, 49, of Coral Springs, who attended the symposium with his wife and two daughters, said he liked the idea of additional grades being added to the elementary school.

He likes the fact that his daughters, who attend the elementary school, would potentially have only one “drastic change” in kindergarten through 12th grade. But Lopez added, “If they are going to expand, they should have more security since they are going to add more students.”

Additional SSOS symposiums, all of which will start at 6 p.m., are slated for Coconut Creek High, 1400 NW 44th Ave., Coconut Creek, Thursday, Feb. 20; Atlantic Technical Center, Arthur Ashe Jr., Campus, 1701 NW 23rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Monday, Feb. 24; Henry D. Perry Middle, 3400 Wildcat Way, Miramar, March 6 and, again, Coral Springs Middle, 10300 Wiles Road, April 3. For more information, call 754-321-2300.