Prairie Grove Enrollment Up
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.
things going on in Prairie Grove but we don’t want to sit idle.”
Pete Joenks Prairie Grove Schools