Prairie Grove En­roll­ment Up

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

PRAIRIE GROVE — Prairie Grove schools saw a 4.7 per­cent growth in stu­dent en­roll­ment in the past year and en­roll­ment has grown 15.8 per­cent in the last eight years.

Reba Holmes, in­terim su­per­in­ten­dent of schools, gave out the fig­ures as part of her re­port on the first day of school for the Prairie Grove School Board meet­ing last week.

Stu­dent en­roll­ment fluc­tu­ates dur­ing the first few weeks and usu­ally set­tles down af­ter La­bor Day, Holmes said.

For ex­am­ple, on Aug. 15, the first day of school, Prairie Grove had 2,040 stu­dents. Five days later, on Mon­day, Aug. 20, the stu­dent count had gone down to 2,026. The ele­men­tary school had 785 stu­dents, the mid­dle school 630 stu­dents and the high school 611 stu­dents.

Al­ready, the ele­men­tary school may have to hire two new teach­ers because of stu­dent growth. Kinder­garten en­roll­ment is four stu­dents over the max­i­mum num­ber and fourth grade is right on the line for need­ing a new class, Holmes said.

Ele­men­tary school co-prin­ci­pals Jonathan Warren and Brenda Clark mailed let­ters to par­ents let­ting them know a new class may have to be added for kinder­garten and fourth grade. If the school opens up new classes, it will first ask for vol­un­teers to move to the new class. If enough par­ents don’t vol­un­teer their chil­dren, then the school looks at en­roll­ment dates.

Warren told board mem­bers the school has two class­rooms for the new classes but they would be the “last con­ve­nient rooms” in the build­ing. Af­ter that, the school has five rooms left to house new classes in the fu­ture. These in­clude rooms that are for coun­selors, gifted and tal­ented, mu­sic and art.

“We’ll hold mu­sic and art un­til the very last because those rooms are used through­out the day,” Warren said.

In other busi­ness, Pete Joenks, as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent of

cur­ricu­lum and in­struc­tion, re­viewed an eight-page hand­out show­ing how Prairie Grove schools did on the spring ACT Aspire tests.

“We had a good round of test­ing,” Joenks said, not­ing there’s al­ways ar­eas to find im­prove­ments.

The per­cent­age of Prairie Grove third-, fifth-, six­t­hand eighth-grade stu­dents meet­ing the readi­ness bench­mark was above the state av­er­age for all tests: math, English, read­ing and sci­ence.

Prairie Grove was be­low the state av­er­age for the readi­ness bench­mark in fourth-grade math and sci­ence, sev­enth-grade sci­ence, ninth-grade sci­ence and 10th-grade math. The scores in the other sub­jects for those grades ex­ceeded the state av­er­age.

“I’m pleased with the re­sults,” Joenks told board mem­bers.

Board mem­ber Whit­ney Bryant noted Prairie Grove is ahead of the state in many ar­eas but is be­hind some dis­tricts in the re­gion, when com­par­ing grades and sub­jects.

Joenks said one im­por­tant part of the scores is look­ing at how a grade did over sev­eral years to see if there is stu­dent aca­demic growth.

That’s where school im­prove­ment plans come into play, he said. Teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors look at past years’ data to help de­cide what to do to im­prove scores for the next year.

“There’s great things go­ing on in Prairie Grove but we don’t want to sit idle,” he told Bryant.

In other ac­tion, the Board ap­proved a low bid of $28,376 from Skyrider for a K-12 net­work ca­bling project. The project is being funded through the E-rate fed­eral pro­gram, which means the district’s por­tion of the cost will be $8,512.

“There’s great

things go­ing on in Prairie Grove but we don’t want to sit idle.”

Pete Joenks Prairie Grove Schools

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