Published in the August 23, 2017 edition


WAKEFIELD — As Wakefield Public Schools gear up for the Sept. 7 start of the 2017-2018 school year, Superintendent Dr. Kim Smith reviewed the latest enrollment projections at last night’s School Committee meeting.
Dr. Smith stressed that enrollment figures are “quite fluid at this time of year” and were in no way final enrollment numbers.
“When school opens, new registrations come in,” she said, noting that by mid-September, the School Department will “have a pretty good idea” what the actual student enrollment will be.
According to current projections, Smith said, enrollment “is just about level,” as Wakefield Public Schools will educate 3,515 students in the coming school year.
The Doyle Early Childhood Center projects to have 122 pupils. Of those, 73 are expected to attend the full-day pre-school program. Thirty-six children will attend the morning-only session, with 18 enrolled in the three-day-a-week program and 18 in the two-day-a-week-program. Sixteen children are expected to attend the 5-day-a-week afternoon session.
The Dolbeare School is expecting 452 students. The anticipated 88 kindergarten pupils will attend four classes of 22 each.
There are expected to be 106 first-graders attending the Dolbeare in five classes of 21 and one class of 22 children.
Second graders at the Dolbeare are expected to number 90 in four classrooms of 24, 21, 22 and 23.
Eighty-eight third-graders are projected at the Dolbeare, divided into four classes of 22.
The fourth grade at the Dolbeare is expecting 80 students, who will learn in two classes of 20 pupils, one class of 19 and one of 21.
The projected enrollment at the Woodville School for the coming school year is 432. There will be 123 kindergarten students in six classrooms. Four of those will have 21 pupils, one with 20 and one class of 19. Smith noted that 42 children attending kindergarten at the Woodville are from the Walton School district.
There are 79 first-graders expected to attend the Woodville starting in September in four classrooms. Three of those classes will have 20 students and one will have 19.
Seventy-seven children are seen attending second grade at the Woodville in three classes of 19 and one class of 20.
The Woodville third grade expects to welcome 80 pupils in two classes of 20, one of 21 and one of 19.
The 73 fourth graders expected at the Woodville will be split into two classrooms of 24 and one of 25.
The Greenwood School is expecting a total of 220 students. The anticipated 46 kindergarteners will attend two classes of 23 each.
Forty-two Greenwood first-graders will learn in two classrooms of 21.
The second grade at the Greenwood projects to 41 students in classes of 21 and 20.
Third-graders numbering 49 will attend classes of 25 and 24.
The Greenwood fourth grade will have two classes of 21 for a total of 42 students.
The Walton School is getting ready for 202 students, including 46 first-graders in two classes of 23. Forty-four pupils will attend second grade in two classrooms of 22 each. The third grade at the Walton expects 47 students in two classes of 23 and 24 children, respectively. The 65 fourth grade students will learn in three classrooms; two with 22 students and one with 21.
The Galvin student population projects to be 1,051 this year. There will be 263 fifth-graders, 248 sixth-graders, 251 seventh-graders and 289 eighth-graders.
Wakefield Memorial High School is planning to welcome 1,026 students to its Farm Street campus in September. The breakdown is 256 Freshmen, 269 sophomores, 229 juniors and 272 seniors.
The POST Academy is anticipating 10 special education graduates into its program.
Dr. Smith told the School Committee that “welcome back” letters will be going out to faculty and parents today.
She noted that school staff comes back on Tuesday, Sept. 5. There will be a full day of professional development on Wednesday, Sept. 6, before students report for their first day of classes on Thursday, Sept. 7.
Smith added that she will be communicating details of the new “school cancellation/learn anywhere” project. Last year, the School Department developed a new approach to school cancellations on snow days, which will be implemented for the first time this coming school year.
Rather than cancelling school on snow days and tacking on a make-up day in June, this year students will be expected to complete assignments and continue their school work at home via distance learning using web and other technologies. Consequently, with the state Department of Education’s blessing, snow days will count as school days and the June 19, 2018 last day of school will not be extended by make-up days for school cancellations.
Smith said that her phone has been “ringing off the hook” this summer as school officials in other towns have been inquiring about the “school cancellation/learn anywhere” project.
“I think you’re going to see this catching on,” Smith said.
She said that lots of information will be rolled out to parents and the public in September and October regarding the new approach to snow days.
In other business last night, the School Committee voted to accept a $10,000 gift from the Wakefield Education Foundation to be used by the Athletics, Health and Wellness Department for equipment for grades pre-K-12. The funds represent the second year of the $100,000 Cummings Grant awarded in 2016.