Two RPS schools will now be K-6

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–J.B. Fisher Elementary School has created a new level–sixth grade.

“Being able to stay here for another year is great news,” says parent, Sydney Lyons.

Just months ago, she and many other parents were pleading with school leaders to simply keep Fisher open, even going as far as making a video to get the word out.

Fisher was one of a handful of schools slated to close under the district’s rezoning plans. “It’s a win-win for everybody,” says Lyons.

Fisher’s principal of 13-years, Dr. Charlene Brooks wasted no time informing her staff of the addition, while also reminding them of the high expectations from school leaders.

At their last school board meeting, board members approved of turning Fisher and John B. Cary elementary into K-6 schools in order to improve middle school performance.

Data obtained by CBS 6 shows that when Richmond children leave elementary school after the fifth grade, reading scores drop by 24 percent and math by 51 percent.

That's just one of many middle school concerns for a J.B. Fisher parent. 

“I'm kind of apprehensive when I go by the middle schools and see police cars sitting outside,” says one parent.

Opposed to this plan are two school board members. Kim Gray and Kim Bridges rejected the extension, saying retro-fitting the schools for sixth graders will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The two say that money should go toward the system's struggling middle schools.

However, it appears most board members and the folks at J.B. Fisher disagreed.

“Everybody's excited about it,” says Dr. Brooks.

This sixth grade extension will be implemented starting next school year.