337 applications for new school | TahoeDailyTribune.com

337 applications for new school

William Ferchland

If all student applications are accepted and confirmed, Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School will have an enrollment of 337 students when doors open Sept. 6.

Wednesday represented the deadline for applications for the school approved in July at the former site of Meyers Elementary, closed last school year because of budget cuts.

The 337 students far exceeds the 180 pupils Superintendent James Tarwater projected would be enlisting for the specialized environmental education school.

“They say, ‘If you build it, they will come,'” Tarwater said.

Notices to confirm applications will go out Friday and parents/guardians will have a week to rescind or confirm their decision.

Tarwater expected the district’s enrollment to fall by about 30 students.

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Seventy-two students are from outside the district.

“It balances things,” Tarwater said during a Tuesday school board meeting. “It really makes a difference.”

Twelve teachers will be at the school, with the possibility to increase it to a baker’s dozen.

Beth Delacour, director of human resources, said seven elementary teachers, mostly from Tahoe Valley, have applied with three coming from South Tahoe Middle School.

The shifts in teaching positions, enrollment numbers and three teacher resignations during the summer means about eight teachers will be rehired after being fired because of revenue lost from enrollment declines.

Staff will meet Tuesday to get classroom assignments and discuss the organization and curriculum of the school. The week beginning Aug. 22 is when teachers will get a better idea of curriculum during in-service training.

The first few weeks of school will be devoted to learning the strengths and weaknesses of students, Tarwater said, with technology and environmental studies kicking in the third week or so.

Curriculum will be “mapped” for the first trimester, or the initial 12 weeks of the school, Tarwater said.

Delacour, who has an interest in science and experience bringing in and teaching environmental lessons in the district, expects curriculum will be a problem but not in the way most people might think.

“I think we’re going to have a hard time paring down our options,” she said.

Tarwater and Delacour will supervise the school. A parent-teacher association will be formed as well as a school site council. And although the school will have a lead teacher and not a principal, retired administrators will lend a helping hand.

Virginia Matus-Glenn, a retired elementary principal, agreed to assist the school during the first weeks, Delacour said. Four other retired administrators will likely be contacted.

Retired personnel often work with the district annually to maintain benefits.

Tarwater listed the grade levels: one kindergarten, two first grades, two second grades, two third grades, two fourth grades and a fifth grade. Combination classes pair the following: a prekindergarten and kindergarten class, a first and second grade class and a fourth and fifth grade class.