Since 2005, the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District has seen an overall growth of 24 percent and a 422 percent growth in the preschool. 40 South News met with MRH superintendent Karen Hall and president of the board, Maria Langston Thursday to talk about how it’s being handled.
The largest classes are making their way into the elementary school, and teachers have had to implement measures to accommodate the influx of students.
Two modular classrooms were added at the start of the school year. Superintendent Karen Hall said $300,000 in cuts were made in the central office to pay for that.
She said one way to handle all the students has been to keep a sharp eye on schedules—time in hallways are kept to a minimum, for instance.
“Unless you’re in there living it everyday, you don’t think about what impact that has on a school day,” Langston said. Every aspect of the school day is looked at. She used bathroom time as an example.
“Getting that many students (third-graders) in and out of the bathroom—over a hundred children at once—and two bathrooms,” she said.
More lunch room employees were hired to move students through the cafeteria as quickly as possible, more furniture installed, and the stage in the center of the school now also functions as a lunch area.
“Think about the trickle down effect that has on the instruction time,” Langston said. “Our teachers have been creative. They’re the ones that really feel it.”
Hall said it’s been an interesting dynamic, “but we’ve been good stewards of the tax payers’ money to make it the best experience possible for our kids without compromising the vision and the mission of the district.”