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Small Space Shortage at Sourthern Blvd. School

Student population creates some shuffling, as enrollment falls, but not by much.

Students and parents at (SBS) will notice several classrooms in a slightly different location from last year.

Principal Ralph Pesapane said several classrooms which were occupied by the first or third grade have been shuffled around to accommodate an additional kindergarten classroom.

As part of the 2012-13 school budget, the district added a fifth section of kindergarten to SBS. Kindergarten enrollment is already over 100 students, and even though kindergarten only meets for half-day sessions, Pesapane said the space is already needed.

"These are nice, big classrooms," he said. "They'll be good for kindergarten."

Originally, Pesapane said he hoped the school would have 40 to 50 fewer students than last year. With the influx if first-graders coming in from private kindergartners, however, the decrease will be about 25 students.

As of Aug. 14, total enrollment was 472 students at SBS. "We closed last year with 500," Pesapane said.

One problem for the school is small instruction space. Pesapane said consulted with an architect on how to develop small instruction space for the future.

"We have three teachers sharing a full-sized classroom for basic skills this year. Where we used to have two people share, now we have to have three. We are just at a limit for small space instruction," Pesapane said.

The classroom in question has been outfitted with screen dividers, but Pesapane said it is not ideal for three teachers with several students each to share the space.

"They don't need a full classroom, they just need a small private space," he said.

At the same time, however, larger classrooms have become available as SBS bid farewell to its largest class ever at the end of the 2011-12 school year.

"We had 167 kids move to Lafayette [Avenue School]," Pesapane said, "but we're getting a lot in first grade from private kindergartens. I have about 31 new kids, and I usually budget for 25 to 30."

Shiny and New

Several classrooms were outfitted with new floors over the summer. The tile floors replaced carpet which, in some cases, had been in the rooms for over 30 years.

"We got new floors in twelve rooms," Pesapane said. "They're so shiny and new, they're like glass."

Parents will also be able to check student progress and grades using the Genesis Parent Portal, which is being implemented at the elementary school level for the first time this year.

"The Parent Portal will let parents see class placements, sign documents and update contact information," Pesapane said. "Next year when I send out the letter to parents, it'll be through the portal, and the SBS Express will go out through the portal."

SBS will also have a new security system, complete with cameras and ID card access for teachers, of which there are several new additions to SBS's numbers.

For multiage students with special needs, Pesapane said the school has hired Jennifer Furey, pictured in the photo gallery for this article. "She's going to be wonderful for those kids," Pesapane said. "Plus the teaching assistants in that room, some of them have their master's degrees in counseling."

Other new staff include:

  • Kately Killea, who replaces Vincent Palladino as a third grade teacher. Palladino transferred to
  • Stephanie Pace, who replaces Allyson Goodstadt as a second grade teacher
  • Jacyln Brief, who replaces retired teacher Denise Solu
  • Laura Piccola, who will teach the new section of kindergarten
  • Peggy Herr, who will join the Basic Skills teaching staff.

 

Back to School

Students in grades one, two and three return to SBS on Thursday, Sept. 6. The school day begins at 8:35 a.m. and ends at 3:05 p.m. The New Family Welcome will be held in the outdoor courtyard at 9 a.m. The rain site is the school's Media Center.

Kindergarten begins Wednesday, Sept. 12. The morning session is from 8:25 to 11:25 a.m., and the afternoon session is from 12:15 to 3:05 p.m.

Back to School Night will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19.

The annual Meet and Greet Breakfast will be 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22.

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