Additional fourth grade planned next fall
In an effort to enhance student learning, Tonganoxie Elementary School will add another fourth-grade classroom this fall.
"Our priority has been to try to reduce student teacher ratios at the elementary school," said Richard Erickson, superintendent.
The additional classroom should cut the average number of students in fourth-grade classrooms from 27 to 22, Erickson said.
To make space for the classroom, the district is remodeling some special education classrooms. The new fourth-grade classroom will be near the other three.
Also, Erickson said, an additional teacher has been hired for the sixth grade.
"There will be five sixth-grade teachers this year," Erickson said. "Last year the sixth-grade student-teacher ratio was 27, this year we're reducing that to 24."
Ideally, in the lower grades, first through third, there would be 20 or fewer students in a classroom. And, Erickson said in the upper grades, that number could increase to 25.
Preferred student-teacher ratios for grades first through third is 20, Erickson said. And in upper elementary classes, 25 should be the maximum. Even though some of the classes will be large this fall, the overall enrollment of students in first grade through third grade is projected to drop from last year's 615 to 598.
"The reason for the decrease is that we have a small kindergarten class coming into first grade," Erickson said.
Last year, he said 88 students were enrolled in kindergarten. Erickson estimated that this fall's kindergarten class would range from 105 to 120 students.