Eighty-two more students will attend Butterfield School in Lombard Elementary District 44 when classes begin Aug. 27 as the result of a boundary change administrators say helped balance class sizes between Butterfield and Manor Hill schools.
Butterfield is expected to have 261 students at the beginning of the year, up from 179 last year, Principal Kristine Walsh said. The school will have two sections for each level from kindergarten to fifth grade and an average of 22 students in each class.
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Manor Hill Principal Rob Schulz said Wednesday he expects fewer students than the 335 who attended last year, although enrollment numbers are not final.
"Currently, we are down three classrooms from what we started with last year," Schulz said.
Of the 82 students expected to attend Butterfield for the first time, 77 are switching from Manor Hill because they live in the neighborhoods between 22nd Street on the north, Butterfield Road on the south, Finley Road on the west and the district's eastern boundary. Others may have moved into the area.
The school has added a kindergarten teacher, a fifth-grade teacher and one new bus route to prepare for the additional students. Expansion of the parking lot to create a drop-off and pickup zone is under way and expected to be complete before students begin with a half-day Aug. 27.
Butterfield and Manor Hill staff members have been working since the boundary change was approved in March to help students transition to their new school. The school board unanimously approved the new borders despite opposition from some parents who wanted the change to be grandfathered in so Manor Hill students could finish elementary school where they started.
In the spring, Butterfield fifth-graders led new students on a tour of the building. The incoming students left with an idea of where their classrooms, gym and cafeteria will be, along with a goody bag containing a Butterfield T-shirt. Some of them started inventing chants about their new school on the bus ride back, teachers told Walsh.
"We got some positive feedback from teachers that it put the kids at ease," she said.
Some students surely are apprehensive about switching learning environments, having new teachers and meeting new friends, she said. But the tour, along with an open house held a few months ago, let students and their parents get a feel for their new school, located at 2S500 Gray Ave. in the Butterfield East subdivision near Lombard.
The Butterfield parent-teacher association is planning a new event, a back-to-school picnic, from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 24 at the playground behind the school, to continue welcoming new parents to the community, and Walsh said teachers may incorporate extra getting-to-know-you activities into their lessons during the first week of school.