County Kindergarten Enrollment Is Rising

Officials with Ohio County Schools say the number of kindergarten students in the district will be higher for the 2014-15 school year.

Most years see about 400 students registered for kindergarten in the county, but this year that number has already topped 420, according to MaryLu Hutchins, director of student services for Ohio County Schools.

Ohio County has offered all-day kindergarten classes since the late 1980s, and childcare services before and after each school day also are available to parents, she said.

“We have had a lovely increase in the number of kindergarten students this year,” she said. “The number of students in any grade level is around 400, but this year, we already have over 400 registered for kindergarten. We’re very pleased by that. The number tends to fluctuate each year, but it’s a nice growth.”

Hutchins said the smallest number of kindergarten students typically are at West Liberty and Bethlehem elementaries, which have just one kindergarten classroom in their buildings. Both schools already are at full enrollment for the upcoming school year, according to Hutchins.

Kindergarten classes are limited to just 23 students under state law, but the schools will be able to handle the number of students without designating additional kindergarten classrooms, according to Hutchins.

“The buildings are well-equipped,” she said. “We are looking everyday to see if there is a place to add kindergarten rooms.”

The most kindergarten students are registered at Woodsdale Elementary School, where there are three kindergarten classrooms. Other elementary schools in the county have two kindergarten classrooms, including Warwood, Madison, Elm Grove and Middle Creek elementaries.

Each kindergarten classroom has both a teacher and an early childhood assistant. Hutchins previously served as a kindergarten teacher.

“It’s all about deep learning, awe and wonder,” she said. “Those are the years when true miracles happen. We would hope this trend (of increasing kindergarten numbers) will continue. We have seen a consistent small increment yearly. We’re very proud of staff as they do a wonderful job.”

Students eligible for kindergarten this semester must be age 5 by Sept. 1, and parents needing to enroll their children should do so before kindergarten classes start in the county on Aug. 21. Elementary school buildings are open between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday.

The first day for older students in Ohio County is Aug. 18.