Due to an influx of students that has swollen the Challis sixth-grade population to 30 since the school year began, the class has been split in two and Kyah Piva hired as a teacher on a four-month contract, Challis schools Superintendent Lani Rembelski said.

The addition of a second teacher and classroom will allow for more one-on-one instruction between teachers and students and improve the quality of education, Rembelski said.

Piva joins longtime sixth-grade teacher Pam Wilson. Piva is no stranger to Challis Elementary. She taught third grade in Challis during the 2017-18 academic year.

Trustees of Challis Joint School District No. 181 hired Piva at a Jan. 23 special meeting, Rembelski said.

When contracts are negotiated later this year, school trustees and administrators will have to look at the projected student population for next year before deciding whether an additional teacher will be needed next fall. For now, the school is tapping its forest reserve funds to pay for the additional teacher. More state funding will kick in if the Challis district’s average daily student attendance numbers stay at the higher level next year.

There are 36 fifth-graders and that class has also been split since the school year began, Rembelski said. Stephanie Strand teaches one class while Ed Gregory and Lisa D’Orazio share teaching duties, morning and afternoon, for the other.

Challis Elementary also has two kindergarten classes with a total of 25 students. The second grade has 24 students in one class.

Rembelski will report enrollment figures to school board members at their Feb. 13 meeting.

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