Hardly a day goes by now that Mountain Green Elementary School does not receive a call from interested parents who want to check out our school system. They are interested in buying homes in this area or wanting to build in our beautiful county. Working within such a wonderful school with tremendous parent support, great teachers and, most of all, terrific children, it is not hard to give them a stellar report of our school.
This past year at Mountain Green Elementary we have seen significant growth in our student population. At the end of May 2012, we had 464 students. Our current enrollment is 527 students. This increase of 63 new students, a 13.5 percent increase, has brought interesting challenges to our school.
To help with funding for our school system, Mountain Green Elementary has leased two of our extra classrooms to private day care and pre-schools.
These children come each day after school has started and leave before school is out to prevent any congestion with dropping off and picking up our regular students. Mountain Green Elementary has also been renting our gym in the evenings to athletic teams, competition leagues and private instructors in the physical fitness area. We have also used the school in the late afternoons and evenings for extra-curriculum extensions such as science programs, county extension 4-H programs and private gatherings. Since last June, we have brought in over $10,000 to help with educational programs around the district.
When Mountain Green Elementary School opened in the fall of 2008, we started with 404 students and 17.5 direct classroom teachers. We had one kindergarten teacher that year who taught one morning session for only a half day. Our student/teacher ratio in 2008 was 23.1 students per class. Currently, we have 19 direct classroom teachers for 527 students, or a student/teacher ratio of 27.7 students per class. From the 2011-2012 Utah State Office of Education’s Superintendents Annual Report, the average elementary student/teacher ratio in rural schools was 20.8 while the average student/teacher ratio in non-rural schools was 24.5.
Three of the most important things that direct a child’s education is first, parents; second is great teachers; and third is the number of students a teacher has in his or her classroom. The fewer number of students in a classroom, the more time the teacher has to spend individually with each student.
During the spring of each year, students in grades three through five take a criterion reference test to determine if they are learning the Utah State Core Curriculum as set forth by our Utah Legislature and state school board. Each year, the results are released to the general public. In May of 2009, the state average for Language Arts and math was 81 percent and 68 percent of the students meeting benchmarks. That year, Mountain Green Elementary scored 90 percent in Language Arts and 87 percent in math.
Since then, the state average for third grade through fifth grade in the May 2012 CRT Assessment was 84 percent in Language Arts and 69 percent in math. Mountain Green Elementary surpassed the state average with results of 94 percent in Language Arts and 91 percent in math for our students meeting state required benchmarks. We achieved these superior results in part by having an average of 23.8 students in each class. Today, we have one less half-time teacher with an additional 63 students and new homes being built.
As we continue to grow, I hope it is possible to reduce the student/teacher ratio that has been climbing this year to ensure that our current excellence in teaching and student achievement will continue.
I sincerely believe that as parents and patrons of Morgan County, we should make every effort possible to meet the challenges that come with growth and maintain our school system as one of the best in the state.