Aug. 5, 2011
What’s with all these kindergarteners?
GULFPORT — It is that time again. The lazy, hazy days of summer are coming to an end. Swimming trunks and sunscreen play second fiddle to backpacks and protractors.
There are new faces on the first day of every new school year, but this year the newcomers seem to be arriving in droves.
This year’s kindergarten classes at five of the seven elementary schools in the Gulfport School District are extraordinarily large.
“We certainly do have an influx of kindergarteners,” said Glen East, superintendent of the Gulfport schools. “It’s more noticeable in some places, but we definitely have a larger group this year.”
Schools such as Bayou View and 28th Street are seeing their largest group of kindergarteners in recent memory, and Gulfport is not alone. Schools in other Coast counties are reporting a similar surge of kindergarteners, and the answer as to why could be very simple.
This year’s crop of kindergarteners was created at a time when many parents were out of work, when South Mississippi was without cable television, and most other forms of distractions for that matter. This year, Hurricane Katrina babies are headed to school for the first time.
So with this year’s larger group of young students it is more important than ever that we be mindful of our children as we head out in the morning; leave a few minutes early, slow down near bus stops and abide by speed limits in school zones.
Mayor George Schloegel said he is excited about all the new faces and wishes all of our Gulfport students a very safe and successful school year. In addition, the mayor stressed the importance of quality early childhood education, calling it the single most important element of lifetime achievement.
“It is the answer to personal esteem, it reduces school drop-outs, it deters crime, it adds to lifetime per-capita income, and it is the foundation of quality of life,” Mayor Schloegel said. “There is no question in my mind that quality early childhood education is the best investment Gulfport can make toward enhancing our future.”
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P.O. Box 1780 Gulfport, MS 39502-1780 - FAX: 868-5800