GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Right now, Southern Oregon elementary schools are seeing an influx in kindergarteners. NewsWatch12 visited some of the schools to see how the bigger kindergarten class size is impacting them.
This year, two schools in Grants Pass and one in Rogue River saw this increase. Each school had 20 more kindergarteners than usual.
20 more kids is enough to fill another classroom, which is exactly what the schools had to do to keep their class sizes at a reasonable number.
Robbie Henderson is the principal of Riverside Elementary. He said on average every year, Riverside fluctuates between 60 and 70 kindergarteners.
"We have 3 teachers for every grade level K-5, and our enrollments are typically between 50 and 65," Henderson said. "And so to have a class of 86 that's a pretty siginificant increase."
Principal Henderson said the pattern will likely follow this class through 5th grade, so he might need to hire another first grade teacher next year to handle the bigger class number.
"We know that class size is really important," Henderson said. "If we didn’t do something different our classes were going to be way over 30 which wouldn’t have been good for the little ones."
Kati Trevathan, Riverside kindergarten teacher, said, "Kindergarten is my favorite thing in the world."
She is going on her ninth year teaching kindergarten. Trevathan and a few other staff members at Riverside Elementary spent their labor day weekend setting up a fourth kindergarten classroom.
"It was all of us as a team," she said. "We pulled everything together and sent it down to the classroom and did what we could to make another classroom pretty much overnight."
Henderson says the increase in kindergarteners was a surprise. "It really was that last week of August that we got a major increase, and it became what are we going to do?"
Thanks to a special group of people they made it happen and Henderson said he can't thank them enough. Riverside wasn't the only one scrambling to get ready for more kindergarteners the weekend before school.
Jamie Wright, the principle of Rogue River Elementary, said, "We didn't know until the first week of school."
One thing is for sure, none of the schools seem to know why there's a sudden increase in kindergarteners.
"We don't know, we're excited about it it's a blessing," Wright said.