Room to Learn



Stacie Clasen begins her lesson of the day at Valley View Elementary.

She's been a kindergarten teacher in the district for well over a decade.

She has 26 kids in her class this year, five more than normal.

"We take our kids and we love them and protect them, keep them safe," said Clasen, "But it's really tricky when you get extra bodies in past the average number of class sizes."

The Ellensburg School District says it's taken in it's largest kindergarten class to date.

Over 100 more students are enrolled in classes this year from last year, more than half of those students are kindergartners.

Teachers like Mrs. Clasen can feel that weight in her class.

"A friend of mine told me it's like trying to herd cats," said Clasen.

The school district has already prepared for this year's class by converting other rooms, such as locker rooms, into classrooms.

However, if they're hit by another large batch of kids, they may have to look into other alternatives such as portables.

"If we continue to have these kind of numbers, we're going to have to end up looking for additional space," said Superintendent Paul Farris, "I know we have at least 10-11 portables in the district right now. So we would end up looking to add another portable at one of our elementaries."

Mrs. Clasen says taking in more children in her classroom is no big deal for now -- the real challenge is finding the time to dedicate to each student's learning experience.

"When we as educators, and even as parents, are having to split our time among a lot of different kiddos, there's not enough of me to go around," said Clasen, "I really wish there was."