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Mayfield schools see strong growth

BY LAUREN P. DUNCAN lduncan@paducahsun.com

The student population growth at Mayfield Independent Schools over recent years has called for additional classroom space.

The district recently completed the construction of four additional classroom to its elementary school, which will accommodate kindergarten through third-grade students this year, but could be used for fourth- and fifth-grade classes in the future. The need for the additional space comes after the district has seen enrollment increases over recent years.

School report card information shows the Mayfield Independent Schools district had about 1,495 students during the 2011-2012 school year. That increased to 1,530 in 2012-2013, then 1,567 in 2013-2014. At the end of the 2014 school year, there were 1,589 students. This year, the district is expecting to see about 1,633 students enrolled.

"Obviously it's a good problem to have," Mayfield Schools assistant superintendent Joe Henderson said.

"Our enrollment has been increasing over the last few years and taking a significant jump this year."

This year's growth comes in part due to an increased enrollment of kindergartners. Henderson said 185 kindergartners were enrolled this year, which is the most he's seen. Most grade levels have about 140 students, but the first- through third-grade classes are averaging over 150 students now, he said.

The high school enrollment is also the largest Henderson has seen it, with 428 students enrolled. Several years ago, Henderson said, the high school's numbers dipped to 360 students.

Since higher numbers of younger students have enrolled, the population has increased over time.

There were also 192 preschoolers enrolled last year, according to Superintendent Lonnie Burgett.

"We've got a really good growth for our district," he said.

As a result of the growth, the district initiated plans to add classrooms to its elementary school in 2013.

This summer, the work was completed. Four classrooms have been added to the school. Two classes were added on to both exterior wings of the building.

"If things go in the right direction we might be adding more next year," Henderson said. "That's a good problem to have ... we just hope it continues on that trend."

Much of the new space is being used for kindergarten and preschool students. The district also hired a new kindergarten teacher and added an extra kindergarten class.

Henderson couldn't indicate exactly why the district's population has increased. He said Hispanic students make up a large portion of the population across the district, but he said the Hispanic student population did not increase between the 2013-2014 school year and this year. About 225 students at Mayfield Elementary School are English language learners, but that number does not necessarily translate into the school's Hispanic population makeup.

Burgett said one possible reason behind the increase may be due to teachers choosing to enroll their students at Mayfield schools.

"Because of the diligence of our faculty and staff, the general concern for students, our small class sizes, and the academic reputation, our schools are inviting to parents and students," Burgett said.

Contact Lauren Duncan, Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8692 or follow @laurenpduncan on Twitter.

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