Modulars to ease overcrowding at GES

by nathan oster

Two new modular classrooms that were brought in to ease the overcrowding at the Greybull Elementary School are in the process of being adapted for their intended purposes and could be in use by sometime next month.

Joe Forcella, the district maintenance supervisor, said Monday that he and custodian Brant Ogg were busy setting up the classrooms.

“We’re just waiting on the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) to approve the water and sewer plan, and once that gets done, we should be able to move a lot faster,” said Forcella, adding that if all goes according to plan, the relocation process could begin within a couple weeks.

“It will be a lot of moving around, which is huge,” said GES Principal Brenda Jinks. “But any change is huge.”

In the end, it’ll be worth the trouble, she said.

“We’ve been doing DIBELS testing in janitorial closets because that’s all we have left. There is no other place for that to occur. Given that how can we, as educators, say that those results are even valid.”

As of Nov. 1, the elementary school’s enrollment was 221 students.

The two largest classes are the second and third grades, which as Nov. 1, had 43 and 46 students, respectively.  While there have been three third-grade classrooms — led by Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Michelena and Mr. Harder — since the start of the year, there are just two second-grade classrooms. With 43 students, each of them exceeds the recommended 16-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

The two modular classrooms are expected to free up space inside the main GES structure. They are being set up to house the two fifth-grade classrooms (led by Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Curtis), as well as occupational and physical therapy.

With the space that is created by those moves, the school will be better able to better allocate space to fit the needs of the students, said Jinks.  The fourth-grade classrooms, led by Mr. Hunt and Mr. Boyer, won’t be moving, nor will the third-grade classrooms of Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Michelena.

But Mr. Harders class will be relocating, eventually settling into the room now occupied by Mrs. Curtis’ fifth-grade class.  Resource rooms will also be moved around, with some teachers gaining considerable classroom space.

Jinks said her hope is that all the moving around can be completed before the holiday break, which begins Friday, Dec. 20.