Crane Elementary School District to expand Pueblo Elementary by adding 7th and 8th grade
Big changes heading to Pueblo in the upcoming school year - 13 On Your Side's Vanessa Gongora spoke with the principal about how expanding the school will benefit students
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Pueblo Elementary School will be getting just a bit bigger by adding seventh and eighth grade, allowing students to stay there instead of going to a different and traditional middle school.
A major change for Pueblo, in the works since last December.
The school board approved it in February.
Pueblo's principal Bobbie Henry says this will give parents another option when their child is ready for middle school.
"It's a more intimate setting. We will only have two classes of seventh grade for next school year and then the following year we'll add eighth grade," says Henry. "So, we will be pre-school through seventh grade next year and then in 2024-25 school year, eighth grade."
Henry says teachers will not be taken away from other schools.
Instead, Pueblo teachers are stepping up to teach the higher grades.
"My absolute and utter happiness, I had staff members that were very excited that are in current positions that said 'Me me, I want to take the home room,'" says Henry.
Henry says research shows kids that have connections with their teachers have more success in school.
"When they're connected with an adult in their school who believes in them, then the sky is the limit. They feel comfortable taking risks and trying out new strategies," continues Henry.
Possible in the future
One special education teacher Paola Durazo, says she's excited for the expansion.
"Cause I know the students love it here. They're so happy to be with the teachers. I can see the teachers getting engaged with the students and they really appreciate them," explains Durazo.
As far as adding extracurricular activities and athletics, it may take some time.
"We will be too small for this first year to implement any sports outside of our school and scrimmaging and that type of a thing," explains Henry.
But if they grow, she says it's possible in the future.
The main challenge in this expansion is finding out who plans on coming to Pueblo and who's going, according to Henry.
More of a close knit family
In addition, the biggest challenge mentioned is getting the middle school curriculum ready.
"So we have a lot of learning between now and then so we can make sure we're giving the very best education possible, but again I'm so lucky," continues Henry. "My team is amazing and they're already preparing for next year and looking ahead at what does seventh grade look like as far as our Arizona standards."
Henry says the environment will be more of a close knit family and there will be a limited number of spots.
Any parent interested needs to contact Pueblo directly by calling the school office at 928-373-3600.
The students currently attending Pueblo have first priority, but they are taking open enrollment applications.