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Seedling Mile Kindergarten Will Be Moved to Stolley Park in 2024-25 to Meet Staffing Needs

Purple "GIPS News" graphic with small circled photos of Stolley Park Elementary & Seedling Mile Elementary.

April 25th, 2024

In continuing our commitment to high-quality student learning experiences and responding to staffing needs, I want to share an important update with you:

For the 2024-25 school year, we will be moving Seedling Mile’s incoming Kindergarten class of nine students to Stolley Park Elementary.

Our registrations for the upcoming school year showed only nine students enrolled for Kindergarten at Seedling Mile Elementary. Consequently, we have made the decision not to enroll Kindergarten students at Seedling Mile.  Instead, the nine students will be happily welcomed at Stolley Park.

This adjustment is our district’s response to two key contributors:  staffing and efficiency.

The enrollment forecast for 2024-25 has Seedling Mile slated to have only nine students enrolled in one Kindergarten class.  We are continuing to work to hire and move highly effective teachers to best serve the needs of students.  Natural attrition, along with movement of staff across the district, leaves Seedling Mile — as well as other buildings — short of staff.  The combination of a small class and a need to fill positions during a severe teacher shortage necessitates this action. 

From a practical standpoint, we ultimately decided serving only nine students in a classroom would not be an efficient, nor sustainable model.  Especially when facing the need to staff classrooms across 14 Elementary schools with certified teachers.  

In exploring solutions to ensure the best opportunity for student success, we turned our focus to Stolley Park Elementary.

For Stolley Park, a school with two units per grade, their Kindergarten projections for 2024-25 show enough space to welcome the students from Seedling Mile while still maintaining their two classroom commitments and not exceeding our district’s class size thresholds.  

In other words, Stolley Park Kindergarten may add nine new Kindergarten students while maintaining consistent class sizes.  The Stolley Park Kindergarten team is also fully staffed for the upcoming school year.

When we look at the overall needs of our district this move to not offer Kindergarten at Seedling Mile is a logical measure for us to take.  Schools across the state, and the nation, are struggling to find teachers to staff classrooms. In this environment, where we have to find the best use for every teacher, we cannot justify serving only nine students with a teacher.

What is next?

The newly enrolled nine Stolley Park students and families will continue their regular Kindergarten experience.  Along with all the Stolley Park Kindergartners, they will be invited to attend the annual “Kindergarten Round-Up” event in May and confidently begin the journey of being Stolley Park Panthers from Kindergarten through 5th Grade.

We have also have an FAQ sheet (ENGLISH | SPANISH) for impacted families.  Our Stolley Park team will be reaching out to each impacted family directly to welcome them to the school and provide support. 

Every student deserves to be seen and deserves to have opportunities to learn and grow.  While change is always a sensitive thing to balance, we are confident the nine Kindergarten Families moving to Stolley Park will feel welcomed as “Panthers” and that Seedling Mile will have a great year as a 1st - 5th Grade Elementary in 2024-25. 

If you have additional questions, you are welcome to reach out to Jennie Ritter, Seedling Mile Principal, or Whitney Flower, Stolley Park Principal, directly. 

Thank you for your support,

- Matt Fisher,
GIPS Superintendent