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D-427 works hard to have optimal class sizes

Rob Winner –
Vincent Tripoli, 5, uses a smart board to describe the weather during his kindergarten class at Southeast Elementary School in Sycamore on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013.
Rob Winner – Vincent Tripoli, 5, uses a smart board to describe the weather during his kindergarten class at Southeast Elementary School in Sycamore on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013.

SYCAMORE – Southeast Elementary School has become a place for kindergartners and second-graders who can’t fit in anywhere else. 

They’re not problem students. The school district just doesn’t have room for them at its other schools. Southeast has 57 kindergarten students, which is a dozen more than last year. The school, at 718 Locust St. in Sycamore, is one of five elementary schools in Sycamore School District 427.

School officials have said some kindergarten students and second-graders were relocated to Southeast Elementary this year to keep classroom numbers in the low- to mid-20s districtwide. This year’s class of 264 kindergarten students is 24 more than last year.

The school had one extra classroom for kindergarten students and extra seats available for 58 second-grade students. Kathy Countryman, District 427 superintendent, said the students being assigned to a different school typically are new to the district. 

Mark Ekstrom, principal at Southeast Elementary, said his school has two kindergarten students and eight second-graders who normally would attend at other buildings. He said classroom numbers are kept around the low- to mid-20s for financial reasons. 

Countryman said kindergartners and second-graders were relocated to Southeast Elementary so classes would be at optimal learning level.

“[It’s] keeping class sizes at the point where students can receive instruction and teachers have the ability to reach individual learners,” she said. 

“We’re trying to do a nice job of balancing the classes so there’s not too many in each one,” Ekstrom said. 

The increased kindergarten enrollment is attributable in part to the development of subdivisions such as Reston Ponds in the city and new families moving to town. Ekstrom said there have been a lot of home sales this summer with a lot of young families coming into the area. 

The school district also is seeing enrollment growth at Sycamore Middle School, which has 912 students, 53 more than last year. 

The district’s five elementary schools have a combined 1,660 students, 32 less than last year. Enrollment held steady at Sycamore High School.


Sycamore School District 427 enrollment for 2013-14 school year

Sycamore High School

2012-13: 1,202

2013-14: 1,194

Sycamore Middle School

2012-13: 859

2013-14: 912

South Prairie Elementary School

2012-13: 318

2013-14: 336

North Grove Elementary School

2012-13: 465

2013-14: 453

Southeast Elementary School

2012-13: 327

2013-14: 317

West Elementary School 

2012-13: 286

2013-14: 279

North Elementary School 

2012-13: 296

2013-14: 275

Total enrollment: 

2012-13: 3,753

2013-14: 3,766

Source: Sycamore School District 427

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