GIPS Moving Seedling Mile Kindergarten to Stolley Park

Photo Credit: Grand Island Public Schools
Photo Credit: Grand Island Public Schools

GRAND ISLAND (NEB.) — In continuing their commitment to high-quality student learning experiences and in response to staffing needs, Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS) will be moving one Kindergarten class to another building next year.

Registration for the 2024-25 school year showed only nine students enrolled for Kindergarten at Seedling Mile Elementary. Consequently, GIPS has made the decision not to enroll Kindergarten students at Seedling Mile.  Instead, the nine students will be happily welcomed at Stolley Park Elementary School.

This adjustment is the district’s response to two key contributors:  staffing and efficiency.

The enrollment forecast for 2024-25 has Seedling Mile slated to have only nine students enrolled in one Kindergarten class.  The district continues to work to hire and move highly effective teachers to best serve the needs of students.   Natural attrition along with movement of staff  across the district leaves Seedling Mile, as well as other buildings, short of staff.  The combination of a small class and a need to fill positions during a severe teacher shortage necessitates this action. 

From a practical standpoint, GIPS ultimately decided serving only nine students in a classroom would not be an efficient, nor sustainable model.  Especially when facing the need to fill classrooms across 14 Elementary schools with certified teachers.  

In exploring solutions to ensure the best opportunity for student success, GIPS turned its focus to Stolley Park Elementary.

For Stolley Park, a school with two units per grade, their Kindergarten projections show enough space to welcome the students from Seedling Mile while still maintaining their two classroom commitments and not exceeding the district’s class size thresholds.  In other words, Stolley Park Kindergarten may add nine new Kindergarten students while maintaining consistent class sizes.  The Stolley Park Kindergarten team is also fully staffed for the upcoming school year.

Mr. Matt Fisher, GIPS Superintendent, believes it is a logical way forward.

“When we look at the overall needs of our district this move to not offer Kindergarten at Seedling Mile is a logical measure for us to take.” Fisher said, “Schools across the state, and the nation, are struggling to find teachers to staff classrooms. In this environment, where we have to find the best use for every teacher, we cannot justify serving only nine students with a teacher.”

What is next?

The newly enrolled nine Stolley Park students and families will continue their regular Kindergarten experience.  Along with all the Stolley Park Kindergartners, they will be invited to attend the annual “Kindergarten Round-Up” event in May and confidently begin the journey of being Stolley Park Panthers from Kindergarten through 5th Grade.

The first day of school for the 2024-25 at GIPS will be August 14th.