CLARKSBURG -- In an announcement that signalled good news for some parents, local elementary school officials said a second full-time kindergarten teacher will soon be hired to reduce classroom size.
"Obviously parents were extremely concerned about this," Northern Berkshire School Union Superintendent Jonathan Lev said at a School Committee meeting late last week.
Parents had expressed concern in a previous meeting over the size of the school's single kindergarten classroom, which grew to 24 students this year.
Sixteen students will remain with their current teacher and eight will be placed with the new teacher, Lev said.
"The reason we're not splitting the class in half is that we don't have the room," he explained Thursday. "The room we're going to be using we don't feel is going to be large enough for a full classroom."
The new classroom will be in a space previously used occupational and physical therapy programs, Lev said, which will be relocated to a teacher workroom.
An assistant will also be hired to work with the new kindergarten teacher and possibly other classes, he added.
The hirings will not affect the school budget, Lev said, as both positions will be funded through the school choice fund.
In other business, attempts to establish a preschool program in an empty space at Town Hall are moving forward. The school has signed an agreement with Guntlow and Associates, of Williamstown, to conduct a feasibility study at a cost of $4,300.
Residents overwhelmingly agreed at June's annual town meeting to fund the study using $8,000 from the school's stabilization fund.
The study will give the school a better idea of what work is needed and how much it will cost, Lev said.
The committee and attendees also discussed the "grab-and-go" breakfast program, which begins Oct. 28 and is a requirement from the federal government.
The school received a waiver to hold off on implementing the program while logistics were finalized.
Buses will begin picking students up five minutes earlier to arrive at school by 8:15 a.m., Principal Linda Reardon said, and breakfast will run until 8:30 a.m.
Students not eating breakfast will have to wait on the bus until 8:30, as teachers' contracts state students cannot be in the classroom until then. Students will have to remain on the bus five minutes longer than they do now, she said.
"We're happy that we're going to be able to feed kids that normally wouldn't eat in the morning, but it's a huge challenge for this building," she said.
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