Brown Early Childhood to have more space for expected higher enrollment

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers

Best-selling author Robert Fulghum says, “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten” and at L.L. Brown Early Childhood Center in Portales, there will be more room for learning during this critical stage.

When pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students begin filling the halls on Aug. 21, there will be a whole new wing near completion. By October or November, Brown school will have 12 additional classrooms ready to be moved into. The extra space will be a welcome addition because, according to principal Jackie Burns, all indicators have school officials expecting a higher enrollment at Brown elementary this fall, although officials are not sure how much more.

“It is difficult to know for sure how many students we will have, but we are expecting our enrollment to be at at least 235 or higher because our pre-enrollment numbers are a little ahead of last year,” Burns said.

Portales Municipal Schools Superintendent Randy Fowler said, “We will move into the new building when it is approved. There will be bigger classrooms and it will be much more spacious, so that will be nice for teachers and students.”

Even without the additional space, there has been a lot of learning going on, according to Burns, who is beginning her ninth year as principal at Brown. She noted that the school has increased its Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status from “intensive” to “benchmark” this past school year.

“Coming in, we were identified as being at-risk and when we left, according to this measure, we were on target for our grade levels, so we’re really proud of that,” Burns said.

Brown Early Childhood Center will hold an open house over the course of three days, Aug. 16-18. During this time, teachers will meet with parents and students so both will have an opportunity to get familiar with the teachers and school environment.

“It is critical to have that parent involvement,” Burns said. “We have found out that is what makes the biggest difference.”