Column: District 518 kindergarten enrollment growingWORTHINGTON — In order to keep up with increasing numbers and changing needs, Prairie Elementary has added an 11th section of kindergarten. Prairie Elementary is projected to start the 2011-2012 school year with 240 kindergarten students. That is approximately 25 more students than the previous school year.
By: Joshua Noble, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — In order to keep up with increasing numbers and changing needs, Prairie Elementary has added an 11th section of kindergarten.
Prairie Elementary is projected to start the 2011-2012 school year with 240 kindergarten students. That is approximately 25 more students than the previous school year.
Throughout the years Prairie Elementary has adapted our kindergarten programming to meet the needs of our students and maintain small class sizes. In 2001, when Prairie first opened its doors, there were 153 kindergarten students enrolled. At that time, Prairie Elementary operated with a half-day kindergarten program. There were four morning sections and four afternoon sections with an estimated 19 students per class. Similar numbers existed during the 2002-2003 school year.
A fairly large increase in kindergarten enrollment occurred during the 2003-2004 school year. The year started with 179 students enrolled in kindergarten. Numbers stayed fairly steady for the next school year. Major program changes occurred in fall 2004, when Prairie Elementary started providing all-day kindergarten. During the 2004-2005 school year, Prairie had 192 kindergarten students with eight sections. This school year brought some of our highest kindergarten class sizes with an average of 24 students in each class.
In 2005, Prairie Elementary had its only significant decrease in Kindergarten numbers. The 2005-2006 school year enrolled 158 kindergarten students. In the fall of 2006, the kindergarten enrollment was back up to 180 students.
The 2006-2007 school year also brought changes to how we program for students needing increased English language development. During the 2006-2007 school year two classrooms were designed to not only meet this language development need, but also to ensure these students would reach the kindergarten benchmark by the end of the school year. Enrollment numbers once again increased in the fall of 2007. This was the first year we would serve more than 200 students. We added a ninth section of kindergarten for the 2007-2008 school year and class sizes were approximately 23 students per class.
Kindergarten numbers decreased minimally for the 2008-2009 school year. However, a large increase occurred again the 2009-2010 school year. During that year, we added our 10th section of kindergarten and started the school year with 224 students.
The kindergarten numbers continue to increase and the social, emotional and academic needs of young students continue to change. At Prairie Elementary, we have continually adjusted and made changes to our kindergarten programming to meet the needs our students. Although we must always be cognizant of the current pressures that school budgets are facing, we must also look to provide a high quality kindergarten experience for all students.
Joshua Noble is principal at Prairie Elementary.