Principals anticipate more students
On the last day of school in 2002, Tonganoxie Elementary principal Jerry Daskoski said goodbye to 747 students.
At the end of last school year, he said goodbye to 772.
Both Daskoski, and assistant principal Tammie George, have an inkling that next year the number will be even higher.
But they won't know for sure until enrollment next week.
"I think it's safe to say that daily we receive phone calls from potential new students," George said.
Principal Jerry Daskoski agreed.
"As of last week, it looks like we have 42 new students, from the end of last year to this past Friday," Daskoski said. "But, this doesn't take into account the students who are moving out of the district."
The situation is similar to that of a year ago in that the numbers are on the rise. But, Daskoski said, there is a difference.
"People are moving in from other places for various reasons," he said. "We're not seeing a real swell of people who are saying they're going to work for Nebraska Furniture Mart, whereas last year there were a number of people moving here who were with Cabela's."
Both Daskoski and George noted that when parents call in about their prospective new students, school personnel keep track of the children's ages to help indicate where, if any, more classroom space could be needed.
A year ago, because of an increase in the number of third-grade students, another third-grade class had to be added. In early October, the district hired another third-grade teacher and moved one of the third-grade classes into the art room, which had been located in a mobile classroom.
The art teacher then stored her supplies in the grade school and spent the remainder of the year traveling from room to room, rather than having students come to her classroom.
This year, despite the addition of two more modular classrooms purchased this spring from the De Soto school district, it appears once again that there's little space for expansion.
The grade school has a total of four modular classrooms. The older building will house the Title 1 reading and math and the art room in its two classrooms. The newly installed building will house Mr. Korb's third-grade classroom on one side, and the gifted program on the other.
But if the rise in enrollment continues, the district could again move another classroom into one of the modulars, displacing either art, Title I math and reading, or the gifted program.
"If we need to create a new classroom, that will happen," said elementary principal Jerry Daskoski.
Daskoski said that last year the school's gifted program began the year in the basement area under the stage in the cafeteria. That area proved to be unsuitable for classroom space because of dampness, Daskoski said.
"So we moved the gifted classroom into the Reading Recovery training room," Daskoski said.
The room was crowded, he said, because that was also the space the art teacher was given to store her supplies.
This year, using that space for the gifted students won't be an option, because the area will be used to handle the increased number of students who receive specific special education services. A year ago, there were six students in the MR class. This year, Daskoski said, that number is increasing to 12.
Daskoski said he doesn't know just how much more of the area's growth the school can accommodate.
"The thing you don't want to have happen is for the kids to suffer academically because things are too tight or there's not enough room," Daskoski said.
And Daskoski expressed concern about the teachers as well.
"You want to make sure they have adequate room to teach in," Daskoski said. "We don't wants lots of room for teachers so that they can have room -- we want them to have room so they can be effective in teaching."