Eunice Thomas adds 7th kindergarten class

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cassville Schools see enrollment boom, 
anticipates new teacher in January

The Eunice Thomas Elementary School in Cassville requires a seventh kindergarten class as enrollment increases beyond optimal numbers.

The elementary school anticipates bringing in the new kindergarten teacher toward the start of the second semester in January, said Principal Catherine Weaver. Each class averages 25 to 26 students. In the second semester, each class will have between 20 and 22.

Weaver and her six kindergarten teachers have worked together to make sure the new class has a demographic mix, she said. They will try to incorporate a balance of high achieving students, struggling students and boys and girls into the class.

"When we have the big move, we will have a big celebration party and make a big deal out of it," Weaver said.

The school will invite the parents to a separate open house, so they can meet the new teacher, she said.

Adding a teacher at semester can be challenging, but increasing enrollment is a positive thing for the Cassville School District, said Superintendent Richard Asbill.

"We want our district to be vibrant," Asbill said. "The fact that students are moving here, parents are finding out that Cassville schools are a good place to educate their kids, that's a good economic pulse for the community. It's a good indicator that they're settling down and are finding homes here."

Starting in January, the district has to fund the new kindergarten position, he said. In the previous second semester, the elementary school had to add a seventh first-grade class, and the Cassville Intermediate School had to add a sixth fourth-grade class because enrollment increased in both grades during last year's 
first semester.

The first grade classes were each running 27 to 28 students, which were larger than this year's kindergarten classes, Weaver said. She hired Natalie Ward, who now teaches second grade at the school. Ward was a second-grade student teacher at Eunice Thomas before she graduated in December 2013.

"We always get late enrollees, and that's very common," Weaver said. "Last year, it became comical because everybody who came through the door were first-grade students."

Eric White, intermediate school principal, said he initially took away a fourth-grade class last year because enrollment was low, but he brought back the class after fourth-grade enrollment increased from about 115 to 135 students.

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