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Teacher added for record kindergarten class

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By Jeff Moore

Carroll County Schools is seeing an influx of students this year, which has led to one of the largest kindergarten classes the district has seen.

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Kathryn Winn Primary School Principal Gerda Wise said Monday there are 179 enrolled in kindergarten, up from about 150 students last year.

“I believe it is the largest,” Wise said, adding that it is bigger than any she has seen in her 29 years with the school district.

This led the district to hire another teacher for kindergarten, which was approved by Carroll County Board of Education at a meeting last week.

Hilary Scroggins of Madison, Ind., is in her sixth year of teaching. She spent the past five years in Madison Consolidated Schools, teaching second grade for two years at Canaan Elementary and first grade for one year at DuPont Elementary. She was the technology integration specialist for the past two years in the district.

Wise and Cartmell Elementary School Principal Doug Oak explained the need for the additional teacher.

The increase in the number of students in kindergarten through third grades pushed the district to an average of 27 students per teacher, above the cap average of 24 students per teacher, Wise said. This was resolved with the new faculty member at Winn.

Oak explained this is calculated by taking the number of students in kindergarten through third grades and dividing by the number of teachers for them.

Even though the cap has been met, Oak said he is also contending with a much larger thirdgrade this year. At Cartmell, he said enrollment is up by 35 students this year, mostly in third grade, when compared to the end of last year.

Superintendent Lisa James is excited by the growth. “The good thing is we are growing,” she said Tuesday.

James said she will recommend hiring another third grade teacher at Thursday’s board of education meeting.

James credits the growth on the district being aggressive in putting engineering into the elementary schools, technology through all grade levels and programs such as Project Lead the Way.

“We are trying to meet the needs of the 21st Century learners,” she said. People are recognizing the advancements and are bringing their children to Carroll County.

At Kathryn Winn, Scroggins started work on Tuesday.

Wise said Scroggins met with students last Thursday to get acquainted.

She said it “tends to be tough” to add a teacher and move students to a new class. Wise said they have been fair in the approach to adding it and have worked closely with parents.

“It’s just been a little hectic for the school,” Wise said. “I thank each of them for being in our district.”

Oak and Wise said many of the new students have come to Carroll County due to their parents taking jobs tied to area industry, such as Kentucky Utilities and North American Stainless.

At Winn and Cartmell, they have been busy enrolling a lot of new students this year.

Wise said there was one day recently they had about 20 people at the school registering new students.

Oak has seen similar scenarios and said they added another new student on Monday.

“It’s exciting,” Oak said, to be a district that has new students coming in and bringing new ideas and perspectives. Many school districts are having to contend with a loss of students and the financial impact of losing funding they receive for the number of students enrolled.

The school district as a whole is also up this year.

James said on Tuesday Carroll County Schools have 2,090 students enrolled. That’s up by 18 from this time last year.

At Winn, accommodating the new teacher meant that Wise moved a district employee with the ESL program and a special education teacher who were sharing a room. Now, they are in separate small offices at Winn to open the classroom for the new teacher.