By SARAH BRADBURY and SHANNON WATKINS
It was announced late August that Glenda Chrisley, one of two kindergarten teachers at Snowville Elementary, would move to first grade after several years as a kindergarten teacher with the school.
Erin Edwards, who taught the first grade class Chrisley took over, moved to Pulaski Elementary’s kindergarten classes, due to the high enrollment in the kindergarten classes, said School Superintendent Dr. Tom Brewster.
The other kindergarten teacher, Amy Parsell, has taken on Chrisley’s students along with her own as of Monday, Aug 26. The single class consists of 19 students, according to Brewster.
“Snowville has been very lucky that it hasn’t happened until now,” said Crystal Harrel Payne, former secretary for Snowville Elementary School. “Kindergarten numbers keep going down and (the school board) can’t justify having 12 and 13 in a classroom when teachers at the other schools have 20.”
Currently, Snowville has one kindergarten class, Riverlawn has three, Critzer and Dublin Elementary have four each and Pulaski Elementary has five.
At Back-to-School night this Monday, Parsell said she and her newly larger class were facing some challenges, but everyone seems to be adapting well.
“Even though I do not agree with the time frame by which the school board chose to execute their decision, I am confident that the outstanding staff and family at SES will continue to do a remarkable job,” said Joe Posillico, one of several out of district parents making the choice to send their child to Snowville. “At first I was very concerned about my son losing his teacher and his class doubling, but the transition was smooth and non-disruptive to the class environment.”
Despite some parents’ worries that Snowville might be in decline, Brewster said there is no cause for concern. “That’s not even a consideration in our thoughts,” he said. “This is not a trend but an anomaly that is confined to the kindergarten grade there. There is no indication of this anomaly continuing or spreading to other grades. Snowville Elementary will continue to offer our students a quality education.”
Snowville Elementary had the highest fourth grade math SOL scores in the school system last year and employs what many parents consider the best teachers in the county.
“After 37 years of personal experience in public education, the increase in kindergarten numbers at Pulaski Elementary and the decline at Snowville do not in any way alarm me,” School board member Linda Hill said. “I have witnessed this numerous times in the past and fully expect Snowville numbers to go back up and Pulaski Elementary numbers to even out.” Hill says in her teaching career with Pulaski County Public Schools she has “been moved within a school and to an overloaded class in another school, then back again.”
Snowville Elementary School serves the Ingles district of Pulaski, but any elementary-aged child in the county may attend, and Posillico said, “I would drive any distance to keep my child at this great school.”