Growing Enrollment a Challenge at Milton Ave. School
The district's smallest elementary school has seen enrollment increase by about 100 students in eight years.
When Marion McCarthy first became principal of Milton Avenue School (MAS) eight years ago, enrollment in the school was 285. When the 2011-12 school year ended, there were 381 students enrolled.
"We have more kids, more families," McCarthy said. "Some people have moved into the area, but a lot of people choose a full-day kindergarten, which we don't provide, unfortunately."
Parents may enroll their children in a kindergarten program which offers a full day and then enroll them in the School District of the Chathams beginning in first grade.
As of Aug. 16, enrollment at MAS was at 387 students, including about 20 new first-grade students.
As enrollment has increased, the school has made concessions within the building. "We had to give up our music room two years ago for a first-grade classroom. So right now our music and art staff share a room, which is not ideal," McCarthy said.
MAS also shares the art and music staff with Washington Avenue School (WAS). McCarthy works with WAS Principal Mary Quigley to schedule the staff members at each school, and then McCarthy schedules the art and music staff within the classroom so they do not overlap.
The end result is that some music classes take place in the school's technology lab.
"Right now we're tight, but we're holding our own," McCarthy said regarding space in the school. As for the future, she said the district will have to rely on their demographers to determine whether an expansion might be necessary in the future.