City To Open 2nd Kindergarten Overflow

Citing swelling ranks of young students, the school district is opening a second overflow school serving grades K to 2. 

At a special meeting Monday, the school board hired Grace Nathman, an assistant principal at Wilbur Cross High School, as the new principal of the Quinnipiac Elementary School at 460 Lexington Ave., a new K-2 overflow outpost.

The school will serve to ease a crunch at the Strong Elementary School, an overflow K-1 school at the former Vinnie Mauro School on 130 Orchard St. The school served about 420 kids last year.

District officials notified parents Tuesday of the move. The change means that some parents who thought their kids were headed to Strong in September will now report to Quinnipiac instead.

Strong has been the safety net for all students in kindergarten and 1st grade who failed to win seats through the magnet lottery and who did not get into their neighborhood schools.

Schools Superintendent Reggie Mayo announced Monday Strong will expand in the fall to serve 2nd grade; and it will send some of its students across town to Lexington Avenue.

The district is now splitting up the city into two zones: Strong will serve kids on the west side of town; Quinnipiac will serve kids on the east, according to Mayo. Susan DeNicola, who took over Strong School last summer, will remain the principal there.

As of Tuesday, 238 students were enrolled at Quinnipiac, according to district spokeswoman Abbe Smith. Mayo said the new school is opening to respond to a rising number of students in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades.

“The numbers are going up,” he said. “That’s a good sign.”

The district now has to hire six new teachers to provide classrooms for the kids, Mayo said.

Quinnipiac will be “the same kind of school, but closer to home,” explained Assistant Superintendent Garth Harries.

Meanwhile, a Redistricting Committee is taking a fresh look at the district’s enrollment, and whether it makes sense to change some of the boundaries that govern where kids get sent to school. 

The committee analyzed where the kids who end up at Strong are coming from. There turned out to be a lot of need in East Rock and the East Shore: 60 kids living in the Ross/Woodward attendance zone were sent to Strong last year, as were 32 from East Rock Community Magnet School.

The committee is trying to figure out how to make school admissions more equitable in the present—and whether or not this bubble of kids will persist in higher grades.

Meanwhile, the district will try to place students from Strong into their neighborhood schools, if there’s space, “in order to provide a long-term placement,” said spokeswoman Smith in a statement. If a student is wait-listed at another school and a spot opens up, the registration office will contact the family, Smith said. 

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posted by: anonymous on August 8, 2012  1:40pm

The City seems to be operating under the assumption, made several years ago, that there will be small annual increases in the number of children. They are also assuming that parents want to put their kids on buses. That’s definitely not the case. More neighborhood schools are urgently needed.

posted by: Walt B on August 8, 2012  2:48pm

“Brownie (Reggie), your doing a hellava job”
g.W. Bush 9/05 New Orleans, LA
(Walt B 8/8/12 New Haven, CT)

posted by: cedarhillresident! on August 8, 2012  4:24pm

I can not agree with you more on the more community schools! The lose of community school did a whole lot of damage to the city!

Also IF WE do not have room for the kids that live here, should the people that are in, lets say celetano and hooker and other schools that do not live in new haven. Should they not have to send there kids to their cities schools?

posted by: B Anderson on August 8, 2012  6:44pm

It is true that a lot of the children currently enrolled in Strong School live in the East Rock School attendance zone, however this could be for several reasons. It is unlikely that these children applied for East Rock School through the magnet lottery and didn’t get in. In the past few years anyone from the attendance zone would have been given a spot, especially for kindergarten, since there has been under-enrollment from the attendance zone (about 30% of the total school population and 17% of kindergartners live in the attendance zone).  It may be that students registered late, after the magnet lottery deadline, and were assigned to Strong School or that they applied to other magnet schools and didn’t receive spots at those schools. Many parents, including those with advanced degrees, find the application process to NHPS confusing, which could also be a factor.  I just want to provide a bit a context to the numbers stated in the article.

posted by: nh104 on August 11, 2012  3:01pm

They now need, with 3 weeks before school starts, to hire 6 teachers? I hope they don’t expect top tier hires this late in the game.