Back to School: 2016
After border shift, new kids adjusting to J.F. Burns
Moving to a new school can be a frightening experience, especially for kids in elementary school.
But with the 35 new families coming into J.F. Burns Elementary this is not the case. The school is making the transition for the newcomers as smooth as possible.
In the past, students who live across the street from the school were bussed to the more distant Kings Mills Elementary. This year, in part due to overcrowding at KME, Kings Local Schools has redrawn their district lines into a more sensible structure allowing students in neighborhoods to go to their nearest school. J.F. Burns is welcoming them all with open arms.
“It’s nice to have them back,” said Principal Cheryl Montag. “Parents that went to J.F. Burns when they were young, now have their children attending here.”
Montag discussed how the incoming families are transitioning, “The kids are loving it here, and they’re mixing quite well with the others by making so many friends.”
Sammy Gillite, one of the students new to J.F. Burns from KME, can attest to this statement by explaining that it was a little scary moving to a new school, even if it is still in the district. She said she’s having lots of fun with the new friends she has made at J.F. Burns.
The other two elementary schools in the Kings district are also experiencing an influx of families. South Lebanon Elementary and KME have seen many new faces in their classrooms, but for a different reason than J.F. Burns. While redrawn district lines are the cause for J.F. Burns’ pupil increase, freshly-built neighborhoods are the reason for the other schools’ young additions. Kings saw an increase of 230 students this year, and district leaders are exploring how to handle the influx.
But are these three schools prepared? Montag said yes, and vacant desks are quickly filling.
“We are well prepared for these kids,” she explained. “J.F. Burns has the capacity for 900 students, and we are currently at 740.”
So the school does have room to grow. Although about one-sixth of the building is left vacant, teachers are taking on the task of teaching more students than ever before, becoming a main reason for the Kings Local School District getting listed on the levy ballot later this year.
Some may look at the increase of students as a challenge, but as the principal of the Blue Ribbon school, Montag looks at it as an opportunity. In fact, she and the teachers of J.F. Burns are excited for these new children from Kings Mills Elementary. It may be a few more hands to hold in the hallways and a couple more line leaders in the classroom every month, but the teachers’ hands are open and the children are ready to lead.
By Skyler Reisinger