Early enrollment for kindergarten sparse

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 School officials waiting on summer sign-up

By Angela Hill

There’s a possibility Patrick County Schools will see a small incoming kindergarten class this fall, but school officials said it’s too early to tell because enrollment remains open through the summer.

Cyndi Williams, assistant superintendent of instruction, said that Patrick County Schools has record of 126 students whose parents have contacted schools about kindergarten enrollment. The average class size for all elementary schools combined is 175 to 200 students.

“There is no cutoff,” Williams said. “We just try to encourage families to enroll 4- and 5-year-olds by contacting their schools.” Parents may register students any time during school hours. Williams said that new families unsure of which schools their children attend may call the Patrick County School Board office at (276) 694-3163.

Williams also explained that enrollment numbers do ebb and flow from year to year, and that a small class size is not indicative of overreaching community issues such as population decline. For example, the 2016-2017 second-grade class is 150 students. However, for that same year, the first-grade is at 184 and kindergarten is at 200, she said.

In cases where there is an enrollment drop, Williams said, school officials will adjust the number of classes per grade at each school to ensure the county maintains a low student-teacher ratio. Those adjustments, if needed, would not be made until late summer.