TISD Students Have Class in Converted Bathroom - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/4/04 - Tyler

TISD Students Have Class in Converted Bathroom

Some first graders are having reading class in the hallway.

"There is noise every now and then when the children go out to recess," Jane Gill, their teacher, said.

Aside from the distractions, the hallway class is right in front of a school exit. It's a situation teachers hope will be changed.

"All children need the best place that they can have to learn, the optimum place," Gill said.

Why don't these elementary students have an ideal place for learning? Because there are not enough classrooms. One classroom used to be a janitor's storage closet. Overcrowding is not just a problem at Caldwell Elementary. TISD says it's a problem districtwide. And just on the other side of a curtain at Peete Elementary School, you can hear kids having lunch. Art class is held on stage. There goes the school's venue for performances.

"It would be nice to have enough room that all the students and the teachers have the space that they need," Diana Koop said.

Koop's daughter attends speech therapy class in a small classroom at Rice Elementary. If you look behind all the school supplies, you'll see that it used to be a handicapped bathroom. So what's the answer to this issue of overcrowding?

The principal of Rice Elementary echoes the wishes of other TISD officials. "We need a bond," Vicki Neill said. "We need TISD to pull together and this community to pull together."

Until then, elementary schools in Tyler will have to continue finding creative ways to accomodate all their students. TISD officials say portable classrooms are one way they're creating more space. At least 13 of 16 elementary schools in the district have been deemed overcrowded.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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