Brown Elementary School Faces Overcrowding Issues - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Brown Elementary School Faces Overcrowding Issues

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The Washoe County school year begins on Monday, but more than half of the second graders at Brown Elementary School will start the year, without a classroom.  With 871 students, Brown is the largest elementary school in the county. That's why some kids will start the year using the library and the music room as classrooms. Two mobile units will be ready to use, later this month. They will provide four new classrooms and bring the school's total number of portable classrooms to ten.

"They help us to manage the number of students we have going to schools like Brown that are definitely overcrowding," Pete Etchart, WCSD Chief Operations Officer said.

For now, the music room and library will serve as temporary classrooms, holding two second grade classes each. Angie Bryan is the school's principal, and expects the beginning of school to go very smoothly.

"Kids are so versatile and they love anything," Bryan said. "So, those teachers will make it a game and make it fun and they're going to think, 'Oh, cool. I get to use the library as my classroom for the first week or two.'"

In the meantime, the librarian and music teacher will come to the students.

"You don't have to have a music room to teach music," Bryan said. "And in the library, she's just going to bring books to them. So, they're still going to get their library and they're still going to get their music time."

Despite their high student numbers, some class sizes have been cut in half. Many had about 40 students, a year ago. Administrators say the goal is to keep class sizes down, easing the burden for both students and teachers.

"There's just so many more things you can do in a class that's smaller and that's why we really rallied to get the mobiles," Bryan said. "So, we can't be happier that we've got the mobiles now."  

Double Diamond Elementary School is also getting two more portable units as part of a $5.7 million grant to add mobile classrooms. Each one costs more than $400,000. They will be used until funding is available to build a new elementary school, in south Reno.

"We do know that our number one need, as far as a new school, is an elementary school in the Damonte Ranch area, to kind of help relieve Brown Elementary and Double Diamond Elementary School, which are both over capacity," Etchart said.

Washoe County high schools are 94-97 percent of capacity. McQueen is over capacity, with 14 portable classrooms. The school district will have more than 200 modular units, this year. In comparison, Clark County has more than 2,000 of them.
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