New kindergarten class formed due to overcrowding |

New kindergarten class formed due to overcrowding

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer
Christopher Lawrence lines up to go home after Mrs. Chamber's pre-kindergarden class at Freemont Elementary School Thursday afternoon.

Melissa Chambers sang out to her prekindergarten students at Fremont Elementary School: “Are you listening, are you listening?”

“Yes, we are. Yes, we are,” they responded in unison.

But some of their parents are concerned they’re not being heard by school officials.

Joe Lawrence told school board members he and his wife decided to send their son to Fremont Elementary School because of the prekindergarten class offered to help younger students prepare for kindergarten.

He said if he had to do it again, he would not send his son to that school.

“It really isn’t what we envisioned when we enrolled our child in the program,” he said. “It’s not like they really have any space.”

An unexpected surge in kindergarten enrollment put about 38 students in each of the three classes.

To reduce the numbers, Principal Jan Sullivan created a fourth kindergarten class, leaving the prekindergarten class with no teacher and no place to meet.

First-grade teacher Chambers was switched to prekindergarten and the students were moved into that room.

Lawrence said he and his wife were taken aback at the swiftness of the decision and is concerned that parents were not consulted first.

“It didn’t make any sense to us why it couldn’t be implemented over the break,” he told school trustees Tuesday. “We were kind of looking for some rationale behind this decision. We’re still struggling with that.”

Sullivan agrees it is not an ideal situation, but she is optimistic it will work.

“I really believe in our teachers and in the children’s ability to learn and grow,” she said. “These children are near and dear to me, too. They’re doing well.”

Chambers has also had to make adjustments from teaching first grade to prekindergarten.

“It’s a challenge,” she said. “I’ve had to adjust my teaching a lot. They’re just learning to write their names and stuff, but I’m excited.”

Her students support her efforts.

“I like her,” said Brian Garringer, 5. “She’s so beautiful.”

And they’re continuing to learn the basics.

“I learned to be nice to people,” said Bryce Moyle, 5.