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YUHSD, District 1, Desert View back to books
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Yuma Elementary District 1 and Yuma Union High School District campuses are now back in session as well as Desert View Academy.
District 1 Superintendent Darwin Stiffler noted that it had a successful start to the school year yesterday, especially as the 470 students from the recently closed Gwyneth Ham Elementary campus were shifted over to Rolle Elementary, McGraw Elementary and Gila Vista Junior High schools.
Factoring in the new students from the previous Gwyneth Ham attendance boundaries, Stiffler said that average class sizes for the first day of school were at 21.2 students at McGraw, 25.8 students at Rolle and 27.6 students at Gila Vista.
“There are not as many kids at those three schools as we were expecting, so the class sizes look really nice,” he stated, noting that the district aims to not exceed 30 students per classroom with the exception of kindergarten where that number is 25 students per class.
When looking at the preliminary enrollment numbers, he said that they are monitoring the dips and increases at the campuses.
“We can see some classes that we're going to have to balance. There's more kindergartners than we expected to show up at O.C. Johnson... and there's more kids at Castle Dome than we had originally expected as well in the elective classes there and we're going to have to work on that.”
Stiffler reported that districtwide they have about nine teacher vacancies that are currently filled with qualified long-term substitutes.
In terms of transportation, he commented that as of 4:05 p.m. Wednesday he did not have any reports of lost children who did not make it to where they were supposed to be.
“It was a good smooth day across the district, everybody made it home safely. That is a wonderful thing.”
At YUHSD, Superintendent Toni Badone also shared that its first day went smoothly as well with a slight increase in student numbers from the 2011-2012 school year.
Cumulative enrollment totals from Wednesday show a total of 11,158 students enrolled across the district; a jump from a projected first-day enrollment of 11,041 kids. First day numbers show 2,660 students at Cibola High School; 1,908 students at Gila Ridge High School; 2,184 students at Kofa High School; 2,655 at San Luis High School; 199 students at Vista Alternative School; 1,537 students at Yuma High School; and 15 students enrolled in the Yuma Online Distance Academy.
“Although these are today's numbers, we still have students registering,” she said, noting that the numbers are subject to increase further.
Across the YUHSD district, there are vacant teaching positions in areas of special education, mathematics, English, chemistry, culinary arts, Earth science and art. Badone said that the governing board has approved 55 additional class stipends to date allowing instructors to teach six class periods instead of the normal five. These stipends will cover for a total of 11 vacant teaching positions, she said, noting that as the year progresses and they hire on addition teachers they hope to decrease the amount of stipends given out so that teachers won't be overloaded with classes.
Of the 60 new hires throughout the district this year, 41 are first-year teachers, she reported, and nine have one to four years of experience and the other 10 have more than five years' experience. These 60 new hires bring their total teacher count up to over 460 for the district.
Lastly, Desert View Academy students also went back to school on Wednesday and Principal Sharon Ogston reported that it was a great day with very few issues.
She said that they have more students on the campus than last year with a total enrollment number of 507. She added that the class sizes are stabilized at an average of 26 students per class.
Desert View currently has a waiting list of students waiting to get into the school varying based on grade level, Ogston said.
She concluded that in terms of teacher vacancies, all positions are currently filled with the exception of an instructional aid job.
Sarah Womer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.