Overcrowded in the elemantaries
Written by: Maya Stirm
The influx of people flooding into New Palestine and the surrounding districts continually increases, which results in overcrowded elementaries. Sugar Creek Elementary currently has 816 students, standing as the largest elementary in the Southern Hancock district. The area keeps expanding and continuing to grow. New Palestine’s inviting school system and strong community values invites many people.
Sugar Creek Elementary has five sections for every grade level excluding kindergarten, which still allows for class sizes to have between 22-25 students. The class sizes are satisfactory and a perfect balance. Because of the increasing enrollment, the staff size has been increased as well. A lot of applicants view SCE has an inviting place to work and the choice of teachers allows the school to pick only the best.
Some challenges of the large numbers do arise as well. Multitudes of children participate in Unified Arts and the cafeteria. The space is present, but the sound gets extremely loud and overwhelming because two grade levels are often eating at the same time. Holding school events can also be a struggle since so many families are present. This causes parking challenges and congested hallways.
The dramatic rise in numbers has posed the question on whether or not the Doe Creek middle school should be reopened. Board meetings have been debating on whether or not to finance the opening of the school, naming it Brier Creek Intermediate School and having fifth and sixth graders attend it, while keeping elementaries kindergarten through fourth grade.
“We are excited about opening the new school. We believe our community will continue to grow and opening a new building will allow for that growth to happen,” SCE Principal Kari Shelton said. “We would also love to have extra space in the building. We currently have no empty classrooms. Once the new building opens, we will be able to use some of our empty spaces to create additional learning environments.”
Another downside of the building opening is teachers from SCE splitting up. The teachers are a close-knit group and consider themselves a family.
“I personally love the 5th and 6th grade age group and will miss having them as leaders in the building. Other than that we look forward to the change. It’s best for our students and community,” Shelton said.