According to Dr. Thomas Stella, assistant superintendent of Everett public schools, enrollment in the Everett school system has continued to climb, even after the opening of schools two weeks ago.
On Monday evening, Dr. Stella and Superintendent of Schools Frederick Foresteire informed the Everett School Committee that nearly 300 new students had registered for school in Everett between August 25 and September 15, as the number of students in the school system swelled to 7,206.
The ever increasing student body is just one more sign that the city needs to begin planning for a new school and soon. Superintendent Foresteire told the School Committee that he and members of the school administration will meet with Mayor Carlo DeMaria this week to discuss the issue, since it will be up to the city to determine where to site a new school.
“We have filed a statement of interest letter with (the Massachusetts School Building Authority) to build an elementary school,” explained Stella. “Now it’s a waiting game to see if we are accepted into the process.”
In the meantime, Stella said the school district will continue to do what it needs to do to find room to teach children within the space the district already has.
“Right now we are recovering classrooms wherever we can, but it is not easy,” noted Stella. “For instance, the high school was built to house 1,800 students but currently has 2,071 enrolled, and the Keverian School was built for 650 students but currently has more than 900 students enrolled.”
Stella also said that some special classes, such art and health have been “put on a cart,” meaning that there is not room in the schools for these classes to have their own rooms, so teachers in those subject areas move from classroom to classroom to teach those subjects, often with a cart in tow to carry their materials.
“We do expect that these numbers might come down slightly in the next few days or weeks, as we finalize our efforts to check in with families who have registered children for school but the children have not shown up yet,” said Stella. “At the same time, we have continued to keep the Parent Information Center open daily, since the beginning of the summer, because we have so many people coming in everyday, so for every student we get off the rolls, we could get new ones.”
Stella did say that the PIC may be switched to a by appointment only schedule, especially as the district needs to utilize the multilingual employees who staff the PIC in other areas of the school department.
However, all of these are only temporary solutions as the city of Everett will soon see more than 300 new apartment units come on the market at the Batch Building on lower Broadway and in the coming year or so another 190 units will come on line at the new Water’s Edge apartment complex.
The new housing units could lead to even higher numbers of new students enrolling in the system in the next few years.