Kilmer to add modular classrooms, implement enrollment management plan as student numbers spike

May 3, 2024

Topic: Updates

As a result of the ongoing increases in enrollment, varied programming needs and the resulting shortage of available instructional space, a four-classroom modular structure will be added to the grounds of Kilmer Elementary School for use during the 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 academic years.

Additionally, Community Consolidated School District 21 will implement measures to manage enrollment of new students at the school, including establishing enrollment caps.

“This is obviously not an ideal situation, but it is something we need to do to try and provide some additional breathing room for a school that has seen very rapid student growth for a number of reasons,” said Dr. Michael Connolly, superintendent of schools, ahead of the Board of Education’s vote on the measure.

Kilmer has seen a significant rise in student enrollment over the past two academic years, increasing from 487 students at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year to 573 as of March 20. 

District administration is also projecting the need for 28 total classroom sections at the elementary school for the 2024-2025 academic year, up from 25 sections this year. These additional sections would mean art and music are relegated to a cart, and both interventionists and resource teachers would be without classroom space.

The modular building will be installed to the southwest of the school, and has been designed to seamlessly integrate with the campus’ architecture while offering modern amenities and technology, along with safety and security, to enhance student learning.

“They provide flexible, comfortable and functional spaces where students can engage in collaborative activities, hands-on learning experiences, and focused instruction tailored to their individual needs,” Dr. Connolly added.

While the initial conversation was to house art, music and intervention and resource programs within the structure, the district will reconsider and make a decision at a later date, following some feedback and conversations with stakeholders. 

These enrollment caps, if needed, would be developed using district class size guidelines and corresponding state guidance for class size in sheltered English and bilingual classrooms. They would also not apply to any current Kilmer student.

In the event an enrollment cap for any given grade level or program classroom be reached, new students would be transferred to another elementary school. These transfer sites will be determined based on enrollment, class size and program considerations. There were no specific numbers available for board members, as “it’s kind of a moving target.” However, Dr. Connolly said the district will continue to monitor those numbers over the summer.

To further manage enrollment, current students enrolled in the Russian bilingual program at Kilmer who do not reside within the school’s boundaries will shift over to the Russian bilingual program at Poe Elementary School. Additionally, incoming kindergarten students in need of Spanish bilingual programming will be enrolled in the bilingual program at Field Elementary School.

Dr. Connolly said these decisions were based on the past two years, where district administrators have seen a downward trend of students needing Spanish bilingual services at Kilmer.