The school year has begun in Watertown, and preliminary enrollment figures put classes at the town’s elementary schools at or under the class size guidelines, but some are right at the limit.
Superintendent Dede Galdston gave the enrollment figures to the School Committee last week, just days into the school year. The Watertown Public School’s class size guideline calls for classes of no more than 20 for kindergarten and first grade, 22 for second and third grades and 24 for fourth and fifth.
As the opening of school approached, there were some grades which worried Galdston.
“One area of concern, originally, was kindergarten numbers,” Galdston said. “They looked like they were creeping over 20, but they are right at about 20.”
Looking at the spreadsheet provided to the School Committee, there is one kindergarten class at Cunniff and one at Hosmer with 21.
The other grade of concern is second grade, Galdston said. At Cunniff one class has 23 students and the other has 24. At Lowell, two of the three classes have 23 students.
The situation is not as crowded as it may seem in the 24-student class at Cunniff, Galdston said, because one of the students starts the day in the class for homeroom, but then attends separate special education classes.
With those classes at or over the limit, future enrollment will not be allowed in the classes at or above the limit (unless students leave), Galdston said. If students show up they will likely have to attend Hosmer, and transportation will be provided, Galdston added.
With outside temperatures in the 90s during the first week of school, many Watertown students attended class in warmer-than-normal classrooms.
School Committee member Lily Rayman-Read said she would like to see some relief from the heat in the future.
“I would like to see us explore possible solutions,” Rayman-Read said.
The School Committee voted unanimously to have a subcommittee look at the issue.