High kindergarten numbers force GASD to add classroom

By REBECCA WEBSTER

Recorder News Staff

Kindergarten enrollment in the Greater Amsterdam School District are filling classrooms to the brim.

That is why the school district is in the process of deciding which kindergartners will move to a newly created class at the R.J. McNulty Academy for International Studies and Literacy Magnet School.

At a GASD Board of Education meeting Wednesday, the board decided that a new kindergarten teacher position will be added at McNulty and that teacher will be in place by the next meeting.

But the high numbers will also mean that some kindergarteners who have already started their school year in one school may be moved to the new classroom at McNulty.

Board President Nellie Bush said now they must decide how to move them.

"We have a situation where we have too many children in kindergarten," she said. "How do we decide how many students will go over to McNulty?"

Director of Elementary Instruction Robert Mark told the board that the first step is to have any new students coming in to the district just now or over the coming weeks automatically placed at McNulty.

A newsletter was also sent out to current parents of kindergartners in the district detailing that the class was being created and asking for volunteers to move their children.

Mark said the parents of five children have already expressed interest.

"The smoothest (thing) is for the parents to say yes I want my child to move over," he said. "We recognize that the class isn't going to be completely full, but if we have 20 students that first day, it's not a bad thing."

The ideal for the district would be to have two students from each current kindergarten classroom move, plus the new students coming in.

As for the who the two students are from each class that will be chosen, Mark said it will be based on a chance lottery and the amount of children moving will depend on how many families volunteer first.

Bush expressed concerns that the process needs to move quickly, as the longer the students are in their current buildings, the harder the adjustment will be for them to change.

"If you find a teacher that you recommend, we give you the authority to bring a teacher on before a resolution (is given) to the board," she told Perillo. "We're asking this to be done soon."

Names are already being looked at for the new position and the district is setting up interviews, Mark said.

Also as a look into the future kindergarten class of next year, Mark told the board that the pre-kindergarten numbers are continuing to grow.

"Five years ago when I started, the pre-K numbers were so low that we (thought we) might get funding reduced," he said. "Now, we are at max capacity. That's a significant change in five years."

The board also gave Perillo its approval to fill a vacant social studies position in one of the schools.