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Size Matters! Part 1

In the building business, square footage = cost. What factors drive school size? Answers to some size FAQ’s are below, but first…

Thank you, DaDDa! The fabulous Lincoln band, DaDDa, performed at a “Rock the Vote” event on Saturday night at Bemis Hall. The event was to raise awareness about the importance of attending the June 9th Special Town Meeting. Kids and grownups had a great time dancing the night away! (DaDDa will also be appearing at Club Codman on May 19th – visit to purchase tickets!)

Tuesday, May 15th: Community Forum! 7:00pm – 9:30pm, Reed/Brooks Gym

  • Help us prepare for June 9th
  • Minimal presentation, mostly focused on Q & A
  • We’ll ask you to rank the concepts – crucial information for the SBC and other boards as we prepare for June!

Monday, May 21st is “Back to School” Day! It’s a double-header – Here is your chance to ride a bus and see both the Lincoln and Hanscom Middle Schools in action! To visit one or both of the schools, please contact Janice Gross ( by NOON on Monday, May 14th.  If you are going to Hanscom, you must provide your full legal name (as shown on your license) and your date of birth. To gain access to the Base, you will need to travel with the group by bus.

  • 9:30am: Bus leaves from Hartwell
  • 10:00am: Tour the Hanscom Middle School (HMS)
  • 12:00pm: Return to Hartwell – lunch will be provided in the Multipurpose room
  • 12:45pm: Tour the Lincoln School

If you just want to tour the Lincoln School, please let Janice know, and meet at the Smith office by 12:45.

~ A minimum of 10 people is needed to run the tour. ~

Size and Cost FAQ’s – Part 1 (During this final month, we will be increasing the number of blog posts per week to try to address as many questions as possible!)

What factors determine the size of a school? The primary factors are the number of grades, enrollment, class-size policy, the curriculum and programs offered, and the non-school requirements or uses of the building.

How many grades are in the school? Currently the Lincoln School houses grades K – 8. Ideally, the School Committee and Administration would like to move the pre-school out of the Hartwell building into the Lincoln School, which is reflected in concepts L2, L3, C, and FPC (updated cost summaries are here).

  • Why move preK? As a public school system, we are required to provide a “Free and Appropriate Public Education” (FAPE) for children with special needs starting as young as 2 years 9 months. In accordance with best practices, Lincoln operates an integrated model, meaning children with special needs are schooled with a matching number of typically developing children. Currently our music, art, and wellness teachers, and our occupational and physical therapists serve children in the Lincoln School and Hartwell buildings. Having the preK students in the same building would allow for more time with students. Click here to read more about the preK program.

For what enrollment are we planning? The SBC is planning for 660 students.  This figure was validated by our work with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) in 2012.

  • While our enrollment for the 2017-18 school year is 544 (not including preK), we need to plan options that will meet the town’s needs over over the next 30 to 50 years (remember, we’re taking out a 30-year bond). The average enrollment since 2000 is 643, and as recently as 2005 our total enrollment was 674.
  • As a small town with a single school, we do not have capacity across other school buildings (e.g. multiple elementary schools) to absorb variations in enrollment. As such, we have to plan a little more conservatively.

What is the Class Size Policy? The Lincoln community strongly values a low student:teacher ratio.  Click here to see Lincoln’s Class Size Policy.

What is the Lincoln School curriculum?  Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Languages (starting in 3rdgrade), Art, Music (including band, orchestra, and chorus), Drama, Wellness, Library/Media, Technology, and Engineering form the core of the curriculum.  The curriculum is supported by literacy and math specialists, special educators, occupational and physical therapists, counselors, and social workers. The school also offers after-school middle-school sports teams. Visit the Lincoln School website for more information.

What are the “non-school” (community!) requirements? We are a one-school-town, and the Lincoln School serves the entire community in many ways. As a result, and because we do not have a high school within our town, we have facilities that are larger than those found in a typical elementary or middle school.

  • Every town is required to have a meeting place within its borders to gather for Town Meeting. Over the years a variety of locations in Lincoln have filled this need – In 1963, after decades of planning, the town built the Donaldson Auditorium. This is a shared community space – not only does it house our robust drama and music programs, middle school meetings, and special presentations, but it is the the home of Town Meeting, Girl Scout ceremonies, lectures, and many other events.
  • Gyms: The Smith Gym (1953) was billed as the “auditasium” in the 1951 Town Report. It is larger than current guidelines for an elementary gym because it was built as a shared community resource that supported physical education and Town Meeting. It is currently used for lunch, physical education, school meetings, Science Share, PTO movie night, school and community sports teams, and voting. The Reed Gym (1970) was built for middle school physical education.  It is currently used for lunch, physical education, Winter Carnival (Bingo and Energy Blaster!), community events (SBC forums!), after school sports, the LSF Spelling Bee, and Parks & Recreation programs.

Stay tuned for “Size Matters, Part 2”  that will go into square footage details!


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