First K-8 school opens in Pasco, could more be coming?

450 new students added to school

SPRING HILL, Fla. - First day of school, 450 new students. Dozens of new staff. And a new name.

Crews Lake Middle is now Crews Lake K-8. Students from kindergarten to 8th grade all housed in one building.

The change comes as nearby Shady Hills elementary undergoes two years of renovations.

The major concern with school starting today, was how to mix the younger kids with the older ones.

Principal Tom Barker says he worked with his three assistant principals to come up with a plan.

"We have them in different areas of the building. We have do not pass periods for the elementary. We staggered the way we have them coming in and out of the busses."

Superintendent Kurt Browning came to Crews Lake to help them start the year this morning. He says more K8 schools could come to Pasco if this one is successful.

"We are going to see how it plays out. We might find that the parents want to keep a K-8."

To make the elementary students feel at home here, portable classrooms were added, along with a playground, and shaded area for PE.

"A lot of the middle schoolers were very respectful to the first graders, they would stop and wait for us to go by," said first grade teacher Rebekah Stringfellow.

School officials say K8's have many advantages. They are usually less expensive to run. They keep siblings under one roof longer and give older students a chance to tutor younger ones.

First grade teacher Rachael Sandefur "it's gone great. The kids are excited. They were a little nervous. But I think everyone's calmed down."

K-8 schools are already in place in Hernando County and the staff from Crews Lake visited each one in preparation for this day.

The only hiccup Monday was when a school bus headed to Crews Lake was involved in a minor accident.

The four students on the bus were not hurt.

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