School solves issue of ‘crowded classrooms’
It wasn't the last day of school, and it wasn't the first.
But for Taylor Eaton, a blond-haired third-grader who packed her school belongings in a bookbag and headed down the hall with 18 other third-graders, it was the first day in a new class.
Because of increased enrollment, especially in the third grade, the school board in September voted to add another third-grade classroom.
Jerry Daskoski, TES principal, said the actual move was planned to cause the least amount of interruption for the students.
When it became apparent in September that a new third-grade classroom would need to be added, Daskoski mailed letters to parents of the 125 students, asking if they would be willing to let their children move into a new room.
Of the responses, Daskoski said, about half the parents, once they knew who the teacher would be, agreed for their children to move. That gave the school, Daskoski said, the flexibility to make up a balanced class roster.
So students could adjust gradually, the move was made after the last recess on Friday afternoon. Monday morning the 19 children started the day in their new classroom.
Pam Field, teacher, says she has an "in" to starting up Tonganoxie's newest third-grade class.
"I have a key," Field said, smiling.
Not a grading key but the key to the school building where Friday morning Field said she probably would spend most of the weekend preparing for the startup of the new third-grade class.
"I'll probably have to put a cot in by my desk so I can move in," Field joked.
Field, who started the year as a part-time kindergarten music teacher, said she's glad the school board voted to add another third-grade classroom.
"Class size to me is really a big deal," Field said. "I think it's a huge deal from the teaching standpoint the kids that are struggling, you want to help them, but you only have so much time."
Before the addition of the new class, there were 25 students in the third-grade classrooms. Now the number will be closer to 20.
"When you get up to 25 students, I don't think you can be as effective," Field said. "You can't be everything to everybody."
Daskoski smiled as he stood in the hallway Friday afternoon, watching friends of the children who were moving as they helped their buddies carry their books and backpacks to the new room.
"The kids were all saying goodbye, but they're going to see each other every day at recess and in the hallways," Daskoski said.
Daskoski said he was glad to see the change.
"My ultimate hope is that there will be a smooth transition," he said.