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Kindergarten class added

Duncombe Elementary will house new section

Increased enrollment has led the Fort Dodge Community School District to add a new section of kindergarten to the district, according to Doug Van Zyl, superintendent.

About 284 kindergartners will be enrolled at the start of the year. That’s an increase of about 30 from last school year.

“We are fortunate to have a large kindergarten class joining us this year, “ Van Zyl said. “When you reach a certain class size, it is in the best interest of both the students and the staff to try to reduce the class numbers. Adding a section of kindergarten can help provide a better learning environment and better learning opportunities for our students as they begin their educational journey as Dodgers.”

The new section will be housed at Duncombe Elementary. Students will begin the year in the Fair Oaks school building, 416 S. 10th St., and transition to the new Duncombe, 615 N. 16th St., when they come back from winter break in January, Jennifer Lane, FDCSD director of communications, reported.

Jeri Ayala-Thompson will begin the year as the teacher for the new kindergarten section. She has nine years of experience as a kindergarten teacher in the district. She also serves as an instructional coach with an emphasis on kindergarten and math.

Ayala-Thompson will serve as the teacher with support from other staff while the district searches for another teacher in January.

When the new teacher is hired, Ayala-Thompson will serve as a mentor to him or her and continue to spend time in the classroom to offer consistency to the students during the transition, according to Lane.

Parents who would like the opportunity for their child to participate in Ayala-Thompson’s classroom, should call Barb Bachman at 574-5651 or Jeri Bird at 574-5679 to be put on the list.

Families who volunteer will receive transportation services for their child this year if needed. If enough families do not volunteer, the district will use a set of criteria to determine which children will be moved to the new section at Duncombe Elementary.

Pat Reding, Duncombe elementary principal, welcomes the change.

“We are thrilled to have another class of kindergarten students joining us,” Pat Reding, Duncombe Elementary principal, said. “Their smiles and laughter will be a wonderful addition to our school. I look forward to welcoming them to our Duncombe family and to a wonderful year.”

• Parents who would like for their child to participate in Jeri Ayala-Thompson’s kindergarten classroom should call Barb Bachman at 574-5651 or Jeri Bird at 574-5679.

• Families who volunteer will receive transportation services for their child this year if needed. If enough families do not volunteer, the district will use a set of criteria to determine which children will be moved to the new section at Duncombe Elementary.