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District Hires Teachers to Shrink Class Sizes

Adding teachers makes big difference for hundreds of students in the most crowded elementary school classrooms

More than 700 elementary students who were slated to be in unusually crowded classes now have a much better outlook, thanks to the targeted addition of extra teachers.

The school board and district have heard loud and clear from parents and our community that after years of cuts, targeting our district’s limited resources to reduce class size and restore lost school days are critical steps to improving outcomes for our students.

Typical elementary class sizes are in the 20s. But because the number of students in each grade level varies, schools can get “bubbles” of student enrollment that lead to very large class sizes or blended-grade classrooms.

To help address this challenge, the school board this year set aside enough money to hire several teachers to fix the most extreme bubbles. The board has taken action to add 7 extra full-time teaching positions to reduce elementary class sizes, as well as one position to support special education relief.

Several hundred students have started the school year in much less crowded classrooms than they would have without the addition. Adams, Chávez, Edgewood, Gilham, Holt and Twin Oaks elementary schools received additional staffing and adjusted class lists before school began. An additional ¾-time teaching position remains to be placed after students arrive and actual enrollment becomes more clear.

The extra staffing placed so far has been strategically targeted to reduce nearly two dozen unusually large classes by an average of about 9 students each. For example, Adams has reconfigured to eliminate 6 blended-grade classes and reduce 10 large classes. At Gilham, the fourth and fifth grade classes have been reduced from 41 to 27. At Edgewood, the first grades have been reduced from 36 to 24.

These additions make an enormous difference for the several hundred students and dozens of teachers in the classrooms affected so far. Although there aren’t enough funds available to address all of the oversized and blended classes across the district, several of the most extreme situations have been resolved.

 

Note: Figures reflect enrollment as of September 2. Based on final enrollment, class sizes and configuration may differ. Average class sizes in each grade are rounded to the nearest whole number.

 

Related article: 
Staffing added to reduce high school and middle school class sizes

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