Recommendations for Early Childhood Education and Elementary Schools

Board considers multi-year plan for early childhood education and elementary schools

LPS has been carefully monitoring elementary enrollment for several years. The LPS Long Range Planning Committee also conducted an in-depth review of enrollment patterns across the district as part of its work over the last three years regarding the need to replace aging facilities over time and the resulting boundary changes. The data tells us that enrollment, particularly at the elementary level, continues to decline within the district. 

young students using tablets in the classroomOver the past 15 years or so, LPS enrollment has declined by about 3,000 students, usually at the rate of 75 to 100 students per year. LPS has always had enrollment challenges for a number of reasons. 

  • This is a nice place to live, and people tend to stay here long after their children have graduated from high school, meaning the housing turnover is slower than in other places in the metro area. 
  • The district is landlocked, meaning there isn’t a lot of new home construction or room for growth. 
  • The price of housing continues to increase, which makes it increasingly difficult for young families to live here. 

Then, the pandemic hit, and more families than usual across the district, the state and the nation moved or chose different education options. LPS was down an additional 700 students from its pre-pandemic projections during the 2020-2021 school year.

Administration Recommendations
Given these variables, the Board of Education charged administration in the fall of 2020 to bring forth recommendations to optimize the use of district resources and facilities to meet student learning needs while operating the district effectively and efficiently. On January 6, 2021, the Board heard a summary of the current state of LPS early childhood and elementary programs, a projection for the future, and a plan moving forward.

Goals of the recommendations were to, when possible, maintain north/south transportation boundaries to avoid crossing arterial roadways; centralize early childhood education services into one facility specifically designed for preschool-age learners; move forward with plans to build a third elementary with capacity to serve 4 sections of each grade level (4 rounds) using premium 2018 Bond funds; and consolidate small schools into existing schools to support 3- and 4-round elementary schools where possible.

Preschooler on the playground, smiling

  • In December 2019, the Long Range Planning Committee recommended the Board consider combining the East and Moody school communities into one new school. Doing so would further the vision of replacing old, failing buildings with new ones while combining two small elementary schools into a larger school that better meets student needs.The school could be built using 2018 bond premium dollars. The current recommendation further details that it would be a 4-round school, possibly using the same design as the new Dr. Justina Ford Elementary School. Using an existing design significantly reduces construction time and design costs.
  • Combine small Peabody and Twain schools with existing schools for the 2022–2023 school year.
  • Combine The Village North with The Village at Highland for one early childhood education center for the district located at Highland.
  • Repurpose East, Peabody, Twain, and The Village North, partnering whenever possible with community agencies for the betterment of family services in our community. Administration recommends that the Board not sell any schools but repurpose them for LPS or for the community. It is possible that our community’s demographics could change in the next 10 years and would require us to re-open another elementary school.

Administration's recommendations move LPS from having 13 elementary schools – several of which will be 1- or 2-round schools next fall – to having 10 elementary schools by the fall of 2023. Most if not all 10 schools would be more robust and efficient 3- or 4-round elementary schools. This size of elementary school is ideal under the current school funding mechanism because larger schools allow for funding for robust staffing, including small group instruction, intervention, and other support services; office staff including a principal and an assistant principal or dean; and various specialists – all of which provide students with the people and programs to best support them. 

“LPS has made sacrifices over the past 15 years to keep some of our smallest elementary schools open. But, some of them are just too small now and can no longer offer the kinds of opportunities all LPS students should have,” said LPS Superintendent Brian Ewert. “Keeping small schools open has substantial long-term consequences financially for the entire district. Principals say that larger 3- and 4-round schools are best for kids. The good news is our new schools, being built thanks to the 2018 bond, are strategically placed in our community where school consolidations need to happen.” 

East/Ralph Moody elementary schools

LPS Board of Education approves Ralph Moody Elementary School campus as location of the new elementary school for the East and Ralph Moody communities 

During a special meeting Tuesday, March 30, 2021, the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education took action on the location of the new elementary school for the combined East Elementary and Ralph Moody Elementary communities. In a 5-0 vote, the Board chose the Ralph Moody campus as the site of the new school. The Long Range Planning Committee, which had been charged by the Board to vet and validate administration’s recommendation to build on the Ralph Moody campus, agreed with administration’s recommendation after taking into consideration all of the data collected over the past three years related to facilities and boundaries as well as parent, staff, and community feedback gathered over the past three months. Read more.

Next Steps

  • Construction on the new school will begin in the summer of 2022, and the school will open in the fall of 2023. The school will cost $35–38 million and will be built using 2018 premium bond dollars. It will  follow the same design as the new Dr. Justina Ford Elementary (four-round school that could serve 600+ students.) Ralph Moody Elementary students will attend school in the Twain building for the 2022-2023 school year only, during the construction of the new school on the Ralph Moody campus.
  • District and school leaders and teachers will begin meeting with parents from East and Ralph Moody to form a new school community while addressing equity issues. LPS will work closely with the East community to develop creative solutions to transportation challenges.
  • In the coming months, district and school leaders will develop a plan to bring together East and Ralph Moody families, community partners, various community organizations, and other interested parties to start creating a vision for what a community center could include and what kinds of partnerships would be the most beneficial. Administration will give the Board an update on the plan in fall, 2021.

Feedback and Decision-Making Process

View the March 30, 2021 Board meeting
View the March 11, 2021 Board meeting
View the Long Range Planning Committee's presentation to the Board.

Board of Education Town Hall regarding East/Ralph Moody
Ralph Moody Elementary
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Watch

Board of Education Town Hall regarding East/Ralph Moody
East Elementary
Thursday, March 4, 2021
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Watch

Frequently Asked Questions 

East/Moody Virtual Town Hall
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Watch 
View the presentation in English, Spanish

Heritage Greens neighborhood

Heritage Greens neighborhood to attend new Dr. Ford Elementary in Fall 2021

During its regularly scheduled April 8, 2021 meeting, the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education, in a 5-0 vote, approved the Maple Option as recommended by administration:

In the fall of 2022, close Twain Elementary School and move the Southglenn and Cherrywood neighborhood students to the new school on the Franklin Campus. Move Moody Elementary students to the Twain building for the 2022–2023 school year during the construction of the new school on the Moody campus. In the fall of 2022, close Peabody Elementary School and move all students to Lenski Elementary School. In addition, move the Heritage Greens neighborhood students to Dr. Ford Elementary School for the 2021–2022 school year.

Current Lenski students who live in the Heritage Greens neighborhood will attend the new Dr. Justina Ford Elementary School, beginning in the fall of 2021 when the new school opens. Because this decision is coming late in the spring, Heritage Greens students who choose to stay at Lenski for the 2021–2022 school year will be provided with limited transportation to Lenski for the 2021–2022 school year only.  Read More.

View the April 8, 2021 Board meeting
View the March 30, 2021 Board meeting
View the Long Range Planning Committee's presentation to the Board.

 

Twain Elementary

Twain Elementary to close in fall of 2022;
Twain students to attend new school on the Franklin Campus in Fall 2022

During its regularly scheduled April 8, 2021 meeting, the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education, in a 5-0 vote, approved the Maple Option as recommended by administration:

In the fall of 2022, close Twain Elementary School and move the Southglenn and Cherrywood neighborhood students to the new school on the Franklin Campus. Move Moody Elementary students to the Twain building for the 2022–2023 school year during the construction of the new school on the Moody campus. In the fall of 2022, close Peabody Elementary School and move all students to Lenski Elementary School. In addition, move the Heritage Greens neighborhood students to Dr. Ford Elementary School for the 2021–2022 school year. Read more.

Next Steps

  • School and parent leaders of the new elementary school being built on the Franklin campus will connect with families whose children will attend their school in the future to begin the planning process.
  • Conversations about the possible future uses of Twain will continue during the next year.
  • Ralph Moody Elementary students will attend school in the Twain building for the 2022-2023 school year only, during the construction of the new school on the Ralph Moody campus.

Feedback and Decision-Making Process

View the April 8, 2021 Board meeting
View the March 30, 2021 Board meeting
View the Long Range Planning Committee's presentation to the Board.

Twain Virtual Town Hall
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Watch 
View the presentation in English
View the presentation in Spanish

Peabody Elementary

Peabody Elementary to close in the fall of 2022;
Students to attend Lenski in Fall 2022

During its regularly scheduled April 8, 2021 meeting, the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education, in a 5-0 vote, approved the Maple Option as recommended by administration:

In the fall of 2022, close Twain Elementary School and move the Southglenn and Cherrywood neighborhood students to the new school on the Franklin Campus. Move Moody Elementary students to the Twain building for the 2022–2023 school year during the construction of the new school on the Moody campus. In the fall of 2022, close Peabody Elementary School and move all students to Lenski Elementary School. In addition, move the Heritage Greens neighborhood students to Dr. Ford Elementary School for the 2021–2022 school year. Read more.

Next Steps

  • School and parent leaders at Lenski Elementary will connect with Peabody families to begin the planning process.
  • Conversations about the possible future uses of Peabody will continue during the next year. 

Feedback and Decision-Making Process

View the April 8, 2021 Board meeting
View the March 30, 2021 Board meeting
View the Long Range Planning Committee's presentation to the Board.

Peabody Virtual Town Hall
(Rescheduled from March 15 due to snowstorm)
Monday, March 29, 2021
6 to 7 p.m.
Watch the recorded virtual town hall
View the presentation

The Village Preschool

Village North Preschool and Village at Highland Preschool to combine at Highland in the fall of 2023

During its regularly scheduled May 27, 2021 meeting, the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education, in a 5-0 vote, approved administration’s recommendations to return to having one robust, early childhood education center for the district by combining The Village North Preschool and The Village at Highland Preschool. Highland Elementary will be renovated to specifically serve preschool students and will become the home to the combined Village Preschool beginning in the fall of 2023.

In 2018, The Village Preschool enrollment was at its peak, serving 503 students in two locations. Since then, preschool enrollment has plummeted; the combined enrollment of both Village preschools for this coming fall is 282 students. District leaders say it is no longer fiscally responsible nor in the best interests of our preschool students to keep two Village preschool programs open. 

A centrally located, dedicated early childhood education center will allow LPS to keep and enhance the quality Village preschool model and robust programs our youngest learners deserve, while also meeting stringent federal and state requirements for both indoor and outdoor learning spaces. Read more.

Next Steps
In the coming months, The Village staff and parents will begin to plan for combining the two programs at Highland, and the Highland facility will undergo additional renovations to turn it into a fully dedicated early childhood education center for the district.

Feedback and Decision-Making Process
View the May 13, 2021 Board meeting
View the May 27, 2021 Board meeting

Long Range Planning Committee vets and validates recommendations

In January, 2021, the Board asked the Long Range Planning Committee to convene for a brief time this spring. The Committee's charge is to vet and validate administration’s recommendations. The Committee engaged with employees and community members throughout the spring to gather feedback to help inform the process and their final recommendations to the Board.

“We are thankful for all of the parents, staff and community members who shared their feedback with us these past few months. Parents have an absolute love for their schools. We heard a lot about equity, and we discovered the questions, concerns, needs and hopes both the East and Ralph Moody communities have for their new school moving forward. I have the utmost confidence in the great work that will happen over the next few years to bring the East and Ralph Moody students, staff, and families together and to ensure we combine the assets of each community to best serve this new school.”
Jack Reutzel, Board President

“LPS will be a stronger school district as a result of these decisions. LPS has made sacrifices over the past 15 years to keep some of our smallest elementary schools open. But, some of them are just too small now and can no longer offer the kinds of opportunities all LPS students should have.  There are excellent schools of all sizes. It comes down to the opportunities we can offer children. Moving forward, we will have larger, more robust elementary schools. We are excited for the instructional opportunities this will provide our students."
Brian Ewert, LPS Superintendent

“These are difficult decisions, and administration and the Long Range Planning Committee provided us with three workable options to choose from. The Committee worked hard to keep neighborhoods together. The Maple Option does this. It also is the best option for making the new school on the Franklin campus a solid three-round school when it opens, with room for open enrollment. It also keeps Lenski a solid three-round school.”
Jack Reutzel, Board President