HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – More than half of all students in grades PreK-8 will be attending a new school next year at Holyoke Public Schools. The rezoning efforts will separate elementary (PK-5) and middle (6-8) schools and will redraw school boundary lines for fall 2023.

“We are excited about continuing our move to separate elementary and middle schools,” said Superintendent Anthony Soto. “This change is in response to significant community input over the last six years and tightens up efforts that had already started. It will help us better prepare students academically and socially, offer a more equitable experience across our schools, and dedicate more resources to instruction.”

“While there are significant benefits to rezoning, we also understand that change is disruptive and can raise feelings of uncertainty,” said HPS Chief of Strategy and Turnaround Erin Linville. “We believe it’s important to seek out and incorporate the voices of those impacted. That’s why we have designed an inclusive process and why we continue to offer many opportunities for our families, community members, staff and students to learn more about rezoning and to offer input.”

The decision to rezone was made after years of soliciting stakeholder input, innovating, and planning. The next step is to develop a concrete plan for how each school will be configured.

A meeting was held Wednesday night intended to answer questions and address the concerns of the families with kids impacted by these zoning changes.

“This isn’t something new we have been talking about this for many many years. we’ve already started moving in a direction where we are doing away with the k-8 model and moving towards a much more traditional elementary middle and high school model,” said Superintendent Soto.

“And that requires deciding which schools are going to be elementary and middle and how we’re going to redraw the boundary lines,” said Linville.

Wednesday night was one of the four community conversations scheduled to provide information and gather feedback.

  • In-person Family and Community Conversation (with food, activities and free transportation):
    • Wednesday, September 14, 5 p.m. at Kelly:
      • Free transportation will be available from Lawrence (4:30 p.m.) and Morgan (4:40 p.m.)
    • Thursday, September 29, 5:30 p.m. at Family and Community meeting at Holyoke High:
      • Free transportation will be available from Donahue and Sullivan
  • Virtual Family and Community Conversation
    • Wednesday, September 21, 9 a.m.
      • Register here to receive the Zoom link. Community-based partners will receive a direct calendar invitation too.
    • Tuesday, October 11, 5:30 p.m.
      • Register here to receive the Zoom link. Parents who participate in DPAG, ELPAC or SEPAC will receive a direct calendar invitation too.

According to Superintendent Soto, they should have the final decisions made by late November.