An unexpectedly large fourth-grade class prompted the hiring of another teacher by the Centre board of education.
Early enrollment pegged the class at anywhere from 23 to 26 students, fourth-grade teacher Kristen Phillips said, but several additions just prior to the Sept. 17 school opening brought the number to 28, with the possibility of a 29th student.
Superintendent Susan Beeson said she debated on what kind of coverage would be needed for that class. When she presented the situation to the board, they all agreed another teacher was needed.
Phillips was relieved.
“When I realized I had 28 students, I pushed for the split,” she said. “Even with paras, I couldn’t be sure everyone was learning what they needed to.”
Applications were taken, and at a special board meeting Aug. 24, the board hired Teresa Wells of Dwight.
The IServe employees spent the next week preparing a classroom that had been occupied by technology coordinator Andrew Linville. They helped Linville move to another location and repainted the room.
Beeson praised the custodial crew for accomplishing the needed changes without a lot of disruption.
Wells has bachelor’s degrees in education and early childhood development. Her first day was Aug. 31. She has 12 years of elementary school teaching experience in Hope and White City, including one year in fifth grade. The past four years, she served as head teacher of two-year-old children at a day-care center at Kansas State University that serves newborns to five-year-olds.
Wells said she applied for the job at Centre because she missed the public school setting.
Phillips and Wells have decided to do co-teaching. Each has her own homeroom, but Phillips teaches reading and language arts and Wells teaches science, social studies, and math. The two classes switch rooms at mid-day.
Phillips said switching rooms seems to give the students more energy.
“I was worried about splitting the class after they had bonded for a week,” board president Rick Basore said, “but I’m glad things have worked out so well.”
“We’re excited to have Wells here,” Beeson said. “They (the two teachers) hit it off extremely well. They will be great co-teachers.”
Wells and her husband live on a farm near Dwight. They have two girls, ages 12 and 7, who attend Council Grove schools. She enjoys riding four-wheelers and shopping.
“This has been such a friendly school,” Wells said. “The kids have been very receptive, and the staff is so helpful. I feel like I’ve been here for years.”