DANBURY, CONN. -- Students at Shelter Rock Elementary School in Danbury found themselves in new classrooms over the past week as the result of skyrocketing enrollment.
Enrollment at Shelter Rock School has swelled to some 550 students, experiencing more rapid growth than any other school in the district. While the school added five new classrooms two years ago, even more space was necessary this year.
Interim Principal Dawn Bartz and her staff moved the fourth grade into four new portable classrooms. Teachers in the second grade also worked on Saturday and Sunday to move into and decorate the classes left behind by the fourth grade. The second-grade classes were doubled up in one classroom – with 43 students in one room with two teachers. Now there are groups of 21 and 22 students, each in its own classroom.
The new space includes all new furniture, new cubbies, new whiteboards and new projectors. All-in-all, ten classrooms moved in the three-day period. The classrooms, which are attached to the school through an enclosed hallway off the gymnasium, were purchased through city bond funding and were $50,000 under budget.
“The fourth-grade teachers took a trip with their classes into the new classrooms Friday afternoon to show the kids where they would be Monday morning and each child brought the items in his/her desk,” said Bartz. “The kids were so happy -- they were cheering as they were walking down the hallway with their school supplies. The teachers stayed late Friday night, working with the maintenance crew to completely clear their classrooms for the colleagues who would be moving in behind them.”
In 2014, Shelter Rock was named a “2014 ConnCAN Success Story” school for its academic progress, contributions to the community and 100 parent participation in attendance at parent-teacher conferences. The latter acknowledgement has a 20-year history. Shelter Rock was one of 30 schools in the state to qualify for the award given by the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now.
This fall, the school was awarded $2,000 as part of its “Unsung Heroes” award from Voya Financial™ to fund the “No more homework, play more video games!” initiative created by several teachers at the school.