In response to an unanticipated surge in enrollment, the Edgartown School will add another kindergarten class this fall.
There are currently 46 students signed up for kindergarten, and more could register before September, said principal John Stevens in his petition for selectmen support at their weekly meeting Monday.
“The projection was 37, 38, and then the numbers just keep rising and rising, and then again, they might hit 50 by the end of the summer,” Mr. Stevens said.
Kindergarteners are usually divided into two classes. Mr. Stevens said enrolling 23 students in each class would present a difficult teaching situation, especially considering that 25 per cent of the class is bilingual, and will require additional help with their English skills, Mr. Stevens said.
“I am a believer in early intervention, and it is very important for our kids at this age to get a solid, good foundation,” he said.
Some have other special learning needs identified by Project Headway, the special needs preschool, and others have yet to be assessed, he said.
In addition, about half of each incoming kindergarten class has had no formal schooling, Mr. Stevens said.
“So many kids come into kindergarten and they know very little about what is expected of them to know in terms of their numbers, their letters of the alphabet, the parts of the body,” he said.
The new teacher’s salary could be $40,000 or more, Mr. Stevens said. Next spring, the school will take stock to decide whether to continue the staffing increase.
“We would have to see at the end of the year what kind of needs these kids have,” he said. “We might have to build another position into the budget for the following year.”
The selectmen gave their support for the new hire.