Mustang teachers and staff are rushing to be ready to start the new school year before the first bell rings tomorrow morning.
"We are excited to get things started," said Superintendent Sean McDaniel. "It’s an exciting time because it is a fresh start for us with a bunch of new faces."
There will be over 800 new faces in Mustang classrooms this school year, bringing the total number of students in the district to 10,800. Last year, through the district’s first central enrollment process, there were 400 new students welcomed to the district.
Central enrollment allows parents to enroll all of their children at one site, rather than having to go to each school site to enroll their children for that particular school.
"Mustang Public Schools has set a new record for enrollment of students brand new to the district over the summer," McDaniel said. "The number of students enrolled does not represent the net gain of students, however. We won’t know until school starts how many students moved away. We are anticipating a net growth of 400 to 500 students. This is the equivalent of adding the population of an elementary school to the district over the summer."
Fortunately, the district’s seventh elementary school, Prairie View Elementary, will open just in time to accommodate the rapid number of new students. The school will hold around 500 students.
The finishing touches are being put on the new school, located at SW 59th and County Line Road. School officials received a tour of the new school on Friday. Teachers began moving into to the school on Monday evening to get their classrooms ready for students.
"We spent last week bringing in furniture and installing carpet," McDaniel said. "Getting the building done on time for the school year was a challenge because we had some delays due to the weather but we had workers who worked double shifts and weekends to stay on schedule. It will be ready for students to walk the hallways on Thursday."
Aside from new students enrolled in the district, there will be new faces in schools due to a district boundary realignment.
"We will have a pretty good number of kids going to different schools this year because of the realignment," McDaniel said. "We have had tremendous growth, especially at the elementary level and we had six schools that were busting at the seams. Most of that growth was coming from the north side of the district, so we had to build a new school and when you do that, you have to move the district boundaries around."
There are also many new teachers in the district. McDaniel said there are 87 new teachers that were hired by the district.
"This does not mean that we have 87 new positions, just teachers that are replacing others that have left," McDaniel said.
To address future growth in the district, McDaniel said he anticipates to re-establish the district’s long range committee.
"We will kick off our long range committee in September and look at putting together a master plan hopefully by the spring to see what we need to do in the future," he said. "Right now, we have a lot of things going on, like the construction of our new event center and we will soon break ground on a new JROTC center and baseball and softball facility. It is a great and exciting time to be in Mustang."