Two Hamilton County schools face challenges as they prepare for open enrollment

Right now, there are about 287 students at Brown Academy, which is no where near the max. (Image: WTVC)

Brown Academy and Rivermont Elementary will both be a part of the open enrollment pilot program.

Principals at both schools just learned a few weeks ago that their schools will be a part of this process to fill empty seats in their schools.

In two weeks, on May 1, open enrollment begins. That means anyone in the county can come to Brown or Rivermont regardless of where they live.

Right now, there are about 287 students at Brown Academy, which is no where near the max.

"Capacity is 475," said Emily Baker, Brown Academy principal.

She's been the principal there for the last three years. Baker has definitely noticed that enrollment continues to drop each year.

"I think we've got a little bit of a shift of people moving downtown and they're having other opportunities to go to other schools," she said. "We could handle several more students and we're really looking forward to that opportunity."

But, more students means different demands on the staff.

"I think the first challenge would be, if we do end up a with much larger enrollment, is to find really good teachers," said Baker.

She says that's a challenge she's happy to accept.

Right now, Brown has 18 teachers.

Each K-3 class has about 16 kids. The 4th and 5th grade classes average about 20.

A benefit that could change when more kids sign up.

"Smaller sizes are great, but I think the opportunity to have a great diversity in our building is probably a greater opportunity for us and as teachers - we'll figure out how to do that," said Baker.

For anyone who wants to send their kids to Brown, Baker wants them to know this: "Parents coming here would know that their children would get some great literacy instruction, as well as math instruction," she said.

To be considered for open enrollment, parents will have to pick up an application anytime from May 1st to 31st. Those are on a first come, first served basis.

Baker says open enrollment depends on whether the school has open slots in a particular grade level.

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