The School District's enrollment numbers at the beginning of September are very similar to those last December. Overall there was a 4% drop in the number of elementary students, with the largest reduction coming at Snow School, with 65 fewer students this year (an 18% drop).
Moody continues to be the only school which has more students than the building was designed to handle. An interim report from the JCJ Architecture firm, released in late May , indicated that Moody was built to house a maximum of 395 students, the current enrollment is higher than capacity by at least two classes. Moody has been forced to alter room uses over the past two years to accommodate all of the classes.
In addition, the average class size in grades 1 to 5 at Moody is higher than at any other elementary school.
|capacity||September 4 enrollment||% of Capacity||mean class size, grades 1-5|
The superintendent of schools office has paid close attention to the overcrowding at Moody. Last January Barbara Senges, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, expressed deep concern about the overcrowding, and in a meeting with the Moody School PTA told parents that this overcrowding would be addressed before the start of the school year.
Senges, as well as the parents, anticipated that a feasibility study commissioned by the Board of Education would make recommendations in April or May for alleviating Moody overcrowding and for addressing a racial imbalance at Macdonough. However, JCJ Architecture, which was hired by the Board for this study, recommended against any changes this past summer. Senges told me, "JCJ recommended, and the Board agreed, to put off any changes."
Senges said that the final JCJ report would undoubtedly recommend redistricting, "I definitely know that the recommendation from JCJ will move kids around." She also mentioned the possibility of changing the current arrangement of one school for all 6th graders (Keigwin), and one school for all 7th and 8th graders (Wilson), asking "Would it make more sense to have two 6, 7, 8 schools instead?" Senges said it didn't make sense to move students around this past summer because the more extensive changes which will take place next summer are not yet defined.
JCJ is due to turn in their final report in late November or early December, in time for the budget process to reflect any effects of the recommendations. Senges said, "This is the last year [Moody students and teachers] are going to have to deal with this issue."
The principal of Moody, Yolande Eldridge, told me in an interview that Moody was having no troubles because of too many students, "I don't hear the word 'overcrowding' in the school." Eldridge noted that Moody's test scores were good, and that some of the schools with much more space and with smaller class size were identified as "in need of improvement."
She said that over the summer she was able to move functions around to create needed space, for example moving Kids Corner into the Cafeteria, and turning a storage room into an office room. Her only regret was that there is no space to host all-school functions; Moody does not have a dedicated auditorium, and the gym can't even hold all students, let alone their parents too.
I asked Eldridge about redistricting, and what she considered to be an ideal enrollment for Moody. She simply responded, "We're in great shape. I consider us a good staff." She said JCJ were experts in redistricting, and would be taking many factors throughout the city into account in their recommendations, "It's not just about Moody."