800 New Students to Broken Arrow Means New Schools Needed

Broken Arrow Public Schools is one of the largest and fastest growing districts in the area. Each year they increase in size by three to four percent.

This year they had to make some room with six new buildings for all of the growth. Part of the new buildings are Early Childhood Centers for Pre-K students.

"We were about 17,200 kids last year. We have pushed almost to 18,000 students this year," Superintendent of Broken Arrow Public Schools Jarod Mendenhall said.

Since they are adding a new grade, the district had to plan to make sure everything was ready for the students to learn.

"We did everything we could possibly do, that was age appropriate and I think that was the thing we worked really hard to do, was making sure that the classroom were designed exactly for four year old students. Our elementary is designed for elementary students," Mendenhall said.

Each classroom has 20 students in it with a teacher and an aid. That's ten students per teacher, which is good for the teachers and the students.

"Being able to have new material and ideas and for curriculum for the children to have to expand their learning experiences," Pre-K teacher Kimberly Rowe said.

Rowe said with the new building everything is the perfect height for her students and makes her feel more prepared for her job.

"I think it's great that we are learning new things just like the kids are learning new things," Rowe said.

With this fast paced growth, Mendenhall said there are some growing pains you just have to be ready for the transition. The main focus of building these new schools is to get all students out of a prefabricated building and into a normal classroom.

The district does have another Early Childhood Center scheduled to open in August of next year. They are currently working on a study to figure out where the 15 elementary schools will go. Mendenhall expects it to be built in the next four to five years.