Increase at Increase
District Hosts Forum on Student Body Projections for IMES
An evening Zoom meeting on January 6 about the projected growth at Increase Miller Elementary School (IMES) in the 2022-23 school year attracted over 90 participants. During the gathering, participants expressed deep satisfaction with the school as well as the importance of being part of the district’s decision-making process.
Superintendent Andrew Selesnick opened the meeting by providing an overview of the student population growth anticipated at IMES. The information had been shared previously with the community at the December 9, 2021, Board of Education meeting.
IMES already serves the largest overall population of elementary students in KLSD while maintaining class sizes and curriculums consistent with the other two elementary schools in the district. Next year, however, IMES is projected to have a student population of 513, while KES it projected at 404 and MPES at 344. The number of sections needed at IMES, along with the social distancing needs of COVID, are presenting some significant challenges within the existing space.
During the meeting, Superintendent Selesnick used Zoom’s polling feature to ask participants about the relative importance of consistency of programming, use of space, class size, and the desire to allow all students currently at IMES to stay at IMES. He specified that none of the data gathered during this first meeting would be used to make decisions and would, instead, help the administration know what kinds of questions might be helpful moving forward.
The second half of the gathering was dedicated to responding to the participants’ questions and sharing ideas. Adding space through portable classrooms, using each of the elementary schools for certain grades and moving all fifth graders to the middle school were just some of the solutions participants proposed. No conclusions were reached at this first meeting.
Kerry Ford, principal of IMES, addressed a question regarding the capacity of the building by speaking to a time before her tenure when IMES reached 600 students. “The building was different then,” she said, “but I’m told it felt crowded.” Danelle Placella, assistant superintendent for business, highlighted her office’s commitment to sourcing demographers to provide accurate data with which to make long-range decisions.
Throughout, participants voiced confidence in Superintendent Selesnick leading the district in making responsive decisions.
“We will continue studying this issue and may form a small working group,” said Selesnick. “We will work with IMES families every step of the way.”