Sep
10

Schools: Back to the grind



Miranda L. Pennock 09/10/10More articles
Matthew Liptak/Students and parents gather outside Karl W. Saile Bear Road Elementary School shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday Sept. 7. Children eagerly awaited the main doors to be opened for the first day of school.
Welcome back!

The 2010-11 school year officially kicked off last week when thousands of students returned to class.

While the projected number of students in the North Syracuse Central School District was lower than the actual number of kids registered for this year, Superintendent of Schools Jerome Melvin said the opening went very well.

Melvin said the projected number was 9,287 students in the district. As of Sept. 8, the district had an actual student body totaling 9,318 kids.

“It is a much higher number at the high school than we projected,” he said, adding that the number of kindergarteners is less than expected.

Class sizes are a little larger this year than in the past, and while there are more students, the class size growth is more due to a decrease in staff. The district is down about 99 positions, approximately 50 of which were teaching staff.

“We’re back to where we were in 1992,” Melvin said. “We have less staff but we will succeed. Our teachers have to succeed.”

Though the first few days of class were typical of back-to-school season, North Syracuse had some issues with late buses.

“By the end of the week we should have that problem resolved,” Melvin said. “It’s a typical opening – we had buses that were late, and that’s not good. The first few days are typical. Kids have trouble getting on the buses to go home – so buses don’t always leave the schools when they’re supposed to.”

Liverpool Central School District
Liverpool’s teachers and staff were in “good humor” Thursday as students returned to school.

Superintendent of Schools Richard Johns said the day went very well and he was sure to circulate to each of the buildings, two of which he was concerned with — Liverpool Elementary and Liverpool Middle schools — because of construction currently under way.

While teachers at those buildings were crammed for time when it came to preparing their classrooms due to the construction, everything came together at the 11th hour, Johns said. Despite the move-in delay, the first day with students moved smoothly, beginning with on-time buses.

“I was at Liverpool Elementary when the buses came in and it was just like clockwork,” Johns said. “That was pretty much the sentiment around the district.”

The evening bus runs did run behind due to a couple of significant glitches, Johns said. In one instance, a bus was delayed for a period of time because a child was on the wrong bus. The issue was quickly resolved.

This year, Liverpool has started the year with a decrease in enrolled students — 2009 began with 7,607 versus 2010 starting at 7,490. The dip in enrollment is likely due to children moving from the district, but more significantly from a large graduating class (641) being replaced by a smaller kindergarten class (546).

Compared to last year, the kindergarten enrollment has gone up. Last year’s class started with 531 students.

“That’s kind of encouraging to see our kindergarten enrollment has gone up from last year,” Johns said.
With a reduction in teaching staff, approximately 48 positions, class sizes are slightly larger on average. But the district has taken care not to increase the maximum number of students in each classroom, with the exception of extenuating circumstances. Essentially, the district has “put more kids in empty seats,” Johns said.

By filling empty seats, class sizes increased from an average of 15 to 18 students to the maximum 24 to 26 per class.

“We very much wanted to keep our maximums where they were,” Johns said.


CATEGORY: K-12 Education
TAGS: Liverpool, North Syracuse, schools, classes
EDITION: Star-Review


Rating: 1.9/5 (12 votes cast)



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