There is always something to learn in Tricia Naasz's Kindergarten classroom. Tuesday's lesson had students using markers to make different patterns on paper, thus teaching that putting different colors together can have a pretty outcome. She knows, though, not every pairing, like merging schools, is as effortless.
"You're used to your people that you work with, you're used to your principal. You're used to the families," Naasz said.
The idea of consolidating Jefferson and Longfellow Elementary Schools, and replacing Mark Twain with a larger building has a lot of Sioux Falls parents talking. However, it is not the first time the district's made that kind of move. 15 years ago the district merged Bancroft and Franklin Elementary Schools and built Terry Redlin Elementary School.
Naasz spent two of her 17 years teaching at Franklin Elementary; the rest have been at Terry Redlin. Though she said Franklin was a nice old building, she also said it was too small and really limited what teachers could do. Plus, it probably would not have lent itself well to today's need for technology in classrooms.
"You have to look at what this is going to provide for my child that we can't do here with what we have," Naasz said.
While picking up her son from school, Caroline Kraft said Terry Redlin was the perfect choice for her fourth grader. The mom feels it provides a more diverse setting because it pulls in more students from a bigger area and has the resources her child needs for a quality education.
"It's definitely not the end of the world. When they merge schools and bring them together, it's good for the kids and good for the parents," Kraft said.
According to Naasz, it took teachers the longest to get used to two schools becoming one.
"Kids are resilient to a lot of things and going to learn to be positive about what you are positive about," Naasz said.
She does not recall a lot of controversy from consolidating Bancroft and Franklin. Over the years she has learned putting the schools together has had a pretty good outcome.
"It's hard to even remember we were two different schools. We have become, the staff has become Terry Redlin. The students are Terry Redlin students. They go to Terry Redlin," Naasz said.
Naasz does admit every situation is different and understands why people are concerned. She knows Jefferson, Longfellow and Mark Twain are farther apart, which could make the consolidation more challenging than Terry Redlin.