Dolores schools are full

Enrollment grows, some out-of-district students turned away

MILISSA VALDEZ, preschool teacher at Teddy Bear Preschool, reads a book Wednesday inside the newly constructed, and just finished, room at the Preschool. The addition accommodates the growing enrollment at the preschool.

A group of eager 3- and 4-year-olds walked into a freshly painted and newly constructed classroom at Teddy Bear Preschool Wednesday, with big smiles on their faces.

The new classroom was finished and the students were happy to step inside. The classroom was needed to accommodate growing enrollment. The preschool had an additional 13 students enroll this year, and the new room was easily added on by Cruzan Construction.

“The students are tickled,” said Preschool Director Valiena Rosenkrance.

For the first week of school and up until Wednesday, the students were rotating from learning stations outside and stations inside with the other students.

“They are happy to have their own classroom,” Rosenkrance said. “We are able to meet the needs of everybody now.”

But it is not just the preschool that is growing, Dolores Elementary School reported a student population of 318, up 27 from its enrollment last year.

An additional fifth-grade teacher was hired to accommodate the growth and a classroom, which was traditionally used for reading interventions, was converted into a classroom.

“I am completely full,” Maxwell said.

Dolores Elementary Principal Sherri Maxwell said she had to turn away some out-of-district students because of lack of space. She didn't want to send a class into a dark modular building.

“I don't like turning people away, but in-district kids come first,” she said.

She added that while she did have to turn away some out-of-district students, the district will always have room for students that live in the district.

The Dolores School District has about 30 percent of its population as out-of-district transfers, a mobility rate that isn't far off the state average of 26 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Education.

In total, about 80 additional students are attending Dolores Schools this year over last year.