Pioneer Elementary FAQs
Q. When will the school open?
A. Pioneer Elementary will open in the fall of 2020. Upon full completion it will house 30 classrooms.
Q. What happened to the Boys’ and Girls’ Club?
A. The Boys and Girls club made the decision last winter to sell the property and look for other ways to serve the peninsula area. The Peninsula School District is grateful for the strong partnership we’ve developed over the years with the Boys’ and Girls’ Club. They continue to operate an after school care program on the site that serves students 6 years – 12th grade.
Q. Pioneer will be a magnet school. What does that mean?
A. Magnet school is a themed school which draws students from all neighborhoods in a geographic area, like a school district. Magnet schools are generally organized around a theme like arts, foreign language, or technology. Pioneer’s theme is STEAM. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. This means that students at Pioneer will receive an elementary education with an emphasis placed on STEAM concepts.
Q. Who is the new principal and what is her role in the development of Pioneer Elementary?
A. Stephanie Strader was selected to be the principal of Pioneer Elementary School. She was previously the principal at Harbor Heights Elementary School. Stephanie is working this year as the planning principal with the district’s superintendent, school construction team, architects, school board, parents, students, and builders to make Pioneer a reality. With her experience as an elementary school administrator, she knows what’s structurally desirable to have in an elementary school building. Stephanie is also hiring staff and leading the concept of the school’s STEAM theme.
Q. How many students are planned for Pioneer Elementary School?
A. The school is being constructed to house up to 550 K-5th grade students.
Q. Who decides which students attend this school?
A. Enrollment will be open to all students in the Peninsula School District. If there are more students interested than spots available, then PSD will conduct a lottery to determine enrollment. Details of the lottery process are still being worked out. We will communicate to families as soon as those details have been decided.
Q: What about siblings? If one sibling is selected in the lottery would other siblings be accepted also?
A. The Board can choose from several options for families who have multiple students in the lottery, but not all are accepted through the drawing. The district may stick with students drawn only, may elect to admit siblings, or may elect to find a middle ground where siblings are waitlisted, but moved to the top of the list. More decisions will be made regarding this question as the district prepares for the lottery.
Q: Will bus transportation be provided from all of PSD elementary schools to Pioneer?
A. The district has made a commitment to provide transportation to students. Logistical decisions of how transportation will work unique to Pioneer are still being developed. We will be providing this updated information to families as soon as we have a better understanding of where specifically our student population will be pulled from.
Q: Will students with special needs be able to enter the lottery?
A. Yes. We will staff the school with special education personnel, based on the number of students selected with IEPs. Please note that we have schools designated for special programs such as Highly Capable or Options. We staff those programs with specially trained staff and resources to meet the unique needs of each individual student. Parents could choose to opt students out of their designated program and enter the lottery, but would need to be aware that the level of service for these students will not be the same as provided at these dedicated schools with special programs, and may ultimately not be the best fit for your child.
Q: We understand that students from the future school #9 will also have the option to participate in the lottery to attend Pioneer Elementary. When will you identify the boundaries for #9, opening across the street from the YMCA?
A. Peninsula School District will hire a demographer soon to help with future student projections and redrawing boundaries to accommodate School #9. We will include parents and other community members in the process before the redrawn lines are finalized.
Q. When will construction on the site begin?
A. Here is a general timeline: Once a permit has been approved by the City of Gig Harbor, the district will call for bids from school construction companies. Bids should go out in November and be awarded in December. This means construction could start in January, 2020.
Q. What kinds of safety features will be included in the new school?
A. All visitors to Pioneer Elementary will be required to be buzzed into the main office before proceeding to any area of the school. Windows from the office to the front of the school allow office staff to see guests as they arrive. Also, all exit doors are only accessible to staff members with key cards providing a secure learning environment for students.
Q. I heard the district’s TRAC program will be at this school. What’s TRAC?
A. TRAC is our district program to support students K-5th grade with diagnosed social-emotional and behavioral needs. TRAC stands for Teaching Responsibility, Academics, and Communication. Much like many of our other designated programs, Resource, Options, HiCap, students in the TRAC program have been assessed and determined to have unique needs that need to be addressed through individualized education and alternate learning environments. Currently, our TRAC programs are located at Minter and Purdy. By moving the program to Pioneer, we are able to design a program best fit to meet the needs of students and allow for greater support and collaboration among the team of professionals supporting their learning. The TRAC program will move to Pioneer upon full opening.
Q. Will there be enough parking at the new school?
A. Once the school is completed there will be ample parking available for school and community use. A parking area will be built on the north end of the school, primarily designated for staff and guest parking. Another parking lot will be built on the southwest part of the school’s campus.
Q. Where will the bus drop off/pick up area be located and where is the parent drop off/pick up area?
A. The bus turnaround area will be on the south side of the school and the parent drop off/pick up area will be on the north side – at the front of the new building. The parent drop off/pick up area will be two lanes so cars can pass on the left, while those on the right can be stopped for students to enter/exit vehicles. This is expected to expedite the drop off/pick up process.
Q. I see that it’s a two-story building. Will there be elevators?
A. Yes, there will be elevators to accommodate those who cannot access stairs.
Q. How many classrooms will be in the new school?
A. The new school is planned to be constructed to have 30 classrooms.
Q. Will there be a covered area for recess?
A. Yes; it will be constructed near the playground.
Q. Many spaces on the floor plan are identified as ‘small or large space’ and ‘makerspace’ What do these mean?
A. The small and large flex spaces are areas designed for students and staff to use in a flexible manner. A teacher may have a pull-out group of students to work collectively on a project; another teacher may have a student working one-on-one with a reading mentor. Windows separate these spaces from classrooms so that teachers have a visual of what’s occurring in flex spaces.
A Makerspace is a communal room that provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering and tinkering. Makerspaces generally accommodate a wide range of activities, tools and materials. These rooms tend to get messy, so they generally do not have carpeted floor space.
Q. When will a school mascot/colors be chosen?
A. We believe it’s important to include students, staff and families in our selection of a school mascot. For that reason, a school mascot may not be officially chosen until student population has been identified, but stay tuned for more information as we engage the community in brainstorming ideas.
Q. I’d like to work at Pioneer Elementary School. How do I apply?
A. All certificated and classified staff positions for Pioneer Elementary School will be posted on the Peninsula School District’s hiring page on the district’s website. Please check it frequently for updates.