Cuts to Stoddert Pre-K Made with 'A Lot of Thought'
Principal Patricia Pride cut a pre-K class for next year in favor of adding a fourth kindergarten class to meet demand at Glover Park's Stoddert Elementary.
Cutting a pre-K class to add a fourth kindergarten class at Glover Park's Stoddert Elementary was both a long time coming and a too-late-for-some decision, according to school Principal Patricia Pride.
Many future Stoddert Elementary parents were left in the lurch after the pre-K lottery results came in last Friday and dozens of local children were unable to get a slot in their local school in part because there will be one, instead of two, pre-K classes this fall.
Pride said the kindergarten classes have been over-enrolled for several years and even though the school added a third kindergarten class a few years ago, this year all three were over the ideal ratio of 20 students per class. DCPS is required to find space for all in-boundary children starting in kindergarten.
"There was a lot of thought and input into making this decision. It was one that needed to happen to make sure the learning environment of the Kindergarten classes was optimal," Pride said.
She approached the school's superintendant about strategies to lesson the classroom numbers and then on Feb. 20 officiall proposed the change. But for it to go into effect she had to wait for approval from District Facilities and input from the PTA Executive Board at its February meet.
By the time she received the green light, it was the first week of March and the lottery, which opened in January, had already closed.
Though there is always a possibility that in-boundary families will not get the children into the school for pre-K, said Pride, "We truly thought we would have enough space in one Pre-K from the data to take care of our families with siblings."
There were 7 children who live in boundary and have older siblings already enrolled at Stoddert, who were placed on the waitlist—along with 53 other in-boundary children.
Pride said she stands by her decision and thinks there needs to be a "strong discussion" about creating pre-school and pre-K campuses citywide.
"If there is anything the lottery has shown us is that city wide our community agrees with Mayor Gray and his position on early education," she said.
Patch will continue to follow this story and plans to contact DCPS about the timing for making these decisions and informing parents who enter into the lottery.
What do you think about the decision? What should DCPS do about demand in some areas of the city for early childhood education? Tell us in the comments.
Read more on the pre-K crunch at local schools: