OXFORD — Schools in eight towns open this week for nearly 3,500 students enrolled in the Oxford Hills School District.

“We’re looking at a good opening,” Superintendent Rick Colpitts said.

Students in grades kindergarten through seven and grade nine begin classes Thursday; those in grades 8, 10, 11 and 12 start Friday.

There are a number of changes for students and staff, including the addition of three prekindergarten classes at elementary schools in Norway, Oxford and Waterford.

Paris Elementary School has had a prekindergarten program for two years.

“We’re thrilled,” Colpitts said of the program for 4-year-olds. “The kids do see a difference,” he said, referring to the positive changes in the older students when 4-year-olds are attending.

Waterford/Harrison elementary schools Principal Margaret Emery said the prekindergarten students will have a staggered start, beginning Sept. 13. While some begin that day, others will join them during that week until everyone is in class by Sept. 20, she said.

Emery explained that there are 18 prekindergarten students attending Waterford Memorial School, so six will begin on Sept. 13, six more will join them Sept. 15, and the final six will join the others Sept. 17.

Some elementary school children will see other changes in their school’s makeup, because some fifth and sixth-grade students from smaller schools will attend larger schools.

“The composition of the schools will feel a little different,” Colpitts said.

For example, at Waterford Elementary School there will be 19 preschool children along with kindergarten through fourth grade. Fifth- and sixth-graders from Waterford will attend the Harrison Elementary School, which has grades kindergarten through six. Emery is principal of both schools.

Hebron Station School will have kindergarten through sixth grade, with Melanie Ellsworth as principal.

Otisfield Community School will have kindergarten through fourth grade students. Linda Park will serve as half-time principal there. Otisfield’s fifth and sixth grade students will go to Oxford Elementary School.

Oxford Elementary will remain a kindergarten through grade six school with Kim Ramharter taking over as principal.

Paris Elementary School will have prekindergarten through grade six students, including fifth- and sixth-graders from West Paris. Jane Fahey is principal.

Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway, with George Sincerbeaux as principal, has kindergarten through grade six students.

Legion Memorial School will house the West Paris kindergarten students. Melanie Ellsworth will remain as principal of Legion Memorial and the West Paris Elementary School, where grades one through four will be housed.

Class sizes districtwide, based on current enrollment figures, range from 15 to 26 students.

In addition to Colpitts, other new leaders in the district this year include Assistant Superintendent Patrick Hartnett, Director of Special Services Tim Luff and Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Assistant Principal John Springer.

Ted Moccia is principal of the high school and Troy Eastman is principal at Oxford Hills Middle School.

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