Record Number of Kindergartners Set to Begin School in West Fargo
The number is a jump from last year's record of more than 960
WEST FARGO, N.D. — With another school year set to begin, more five and six–year–olds are set to begin their journeys at 13 elementary schools across West Fargo.
This year, more than 1,000 kindergartners are enrolled, which means the district has to prepare for the new wave of students.
“We are hiring three new teachers, two of those teachers will be for kindergarten. In addition to that, we will have two other classrooms that had to be adjusted, and teachers had to switch grade levels to accommodate the growth,” said Beth Slette, the Superintendent of West Fargo Public Schools.
This year marks the first where all of the district’s elementary schools have kindergarten, absorbing students from the town’s kindergarten centers.
But some area parents are uneasy about the rapid growth in the district.
Some worry about the larger class sizes.
“When my oldest started school, there were probably only 500 kids in the kindergarten center then, which still was a lot to me. I feel like kids get lost in the classroom if there are too many versus the teacher,” said Molly Martell of West Fargo.
The district is already planning ahead for the future with the opening of Willow Park Elementary School this year, as well as the construction of Deer Creek Elementary School for next year. Their hope long–term is to build a middle school and high school to accommodate the growing number of students.
That decision lies in the hands of voters in a referendum on September 25th. If passed, the district will receive nearly $107 million to build new schools.
“Even if we have a third high school, the three high schools would still be, given our numbers right now, the largest in the state. So, it’s coming to be a time that we need to prepare so that transition can be done smoothly for the children,” said Slette.
But in a time of rapid change, Slette says the district will be ready to adjust to welcome the next generation of students.
Fargo Public Schools has 869 students enrolled in kindergarten, while Moorhead is anticipating 520 kindergarteners this year.
The district previously set a record last year with 963 students enrolling in kindergarten.