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Making room for Kindergarten students

SCHENECTADY -- Tending the Kindergarten.  It's not so easy for some school districts as the school year approaches.  In fact, some start the year not even knowing how many students will fill its classrooms.
The Shenendehowa School District tells our Fact Finders it posts registration information on social media, its website, and puts ads in local newsletters to avoid any problems.  Mohonasen says many times kindergarten students register at the last minute and is always monitoring staffing throughout the summer for last-minute changes. 

Schenectady has had its fair share of problems making sure it has enough room for its youngest students.  Last year, the district had 200 students show up during the first week of school who never registered and had to find extra classrooms and teachers.

The district now is moving its registration office from the Ellis campus on McClellan Street, nearer to other district offices parents might need.  It could give them another reason to sign their kids up for school ahead of time.

700 kindergarteners have registered for fall classes.  Schenectady is hoping not to repeat the surplus of students it received in years past.

Gardenia McLaughlin stopped by the registration center today, to try and get her five year-old son a spot in the classroom.  "I'm down here trying to figure out what school he's going to, what time he's going to be going to school," McLaughlin said.

Last year not enough parents did what she is doing now.  "You've got kids that are showing up at school and we don't have classrooms for them, we don't have enough teachers for them," said superintendent Larry Spring.

Spring expects another one hundred and forty to register this year.  Their parents have five weeks to do it.  "As we get closer to the beginning of school we get extremely busy," said registrar Katie Vacca.  "That's why we like parents to come in earlier."

The district appreciates advance warning if it will be teaching more students than before.  Last year some kindergarteners didn't start right away because there was no space for them.  McLaughlin still has to get some of the right paperwork to finalize plans for her son.

A new registration center will be located at the administration offices in Mont Pleasant Middle School.  This will put parents closer to services about which they may inquire, such as special ed or transportation.  The hope is by putting everything in one place, the process is easier -- making a student's first day easier.

"Get them all planned so that on day one, they've got a cubbie, they've got a teacher that knows their name, and we've got a warm, welcoming environment for them," Spring said.

The first day of school is September 4.  Kids who sign up early can meet their teacher, and their teachers can meet them so some kind of relationship can be established before day 1.  That's an advantage students who don't register don't have.
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