Catholic School To Add Classes

BERLIN – After just
eight years of operation, Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic School (MBS) student
body is expanding, with pre-kindergarten and first grade classes to offer a
second track.

MBS has waiting lists
for eight of 11 grade levels, Principal Mark Record said, with the largest
waiting lists for pre-kindergarten and first grade.

The school needs
commitments of 10 new students in each level to add a second track. Currently,
the additional pre-kindergarten classroom is filled. Record expects the first
grade classroom to be filled by mid-month.

The school will need to
expand resources, including adding a handful of new jobs.

“It would be another
teacher. It would be more educational assistant time. It would require more
desks, require more instructional materials. It would require more technology.
It would require more instruction space,” said Record.

The school will
accommodate the new classes by displacing special area teachers, such as the
Spanish and religion teachers, and having those educators go to the class they
are instructing, rather than moving the students to a separate Spanish or
religion classroom.

The decision to expand
the pre-kindergarten and first grade classes at MBS was made, Record said,
because of strong community demand.

“We’ve been overwhelmed
with parent phone calls indicating an interest,” Record said. “We’re getting
probably two to four phone calls every day … it’s been happening just like
wildfire lately.”

The school currently has
243 students, pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. Last year, the school had just
193 students.

“Next year we’re looking
at 260-plus,” said Record.

Class sizes are limited
to 27 students, except in pre-kindergarten, where class sizes are restricted to
25 students.

The school’s capacity
with class size restrictions is 270 students.

The school appears to
have been built with double tracking in mind, Record observed. The costs of the
new tracks will be covered mostly through tuition. MBS is also subsidized by
eight parishes in Sussex and Worcester counties.

While there is a lot of
talk in the local Catholic community about the need to expand the school, there
are currently no plans to add to the MBS building.

Students should not see
much of a change with the additional students, just a bit more traffic in the
halls, said Record.