Back in August, WCIA ran a story about the increased Kindergarten enrollment. It did not occur to me at the time what the ramifications of that were. Recently, I have been chatting with some current Kindergarten parents; apparently, they were informed as early as August 5th about the need to shuffle and squeeze in yet more students, bringing the totals up to 25 at 10 of the 11 schools and 24 at the 11th. 25 kids for one teacher is a lot. It is a lot when you only plan for 20 or 21. It is a lot when you have several kids that require a little more attention. The district responded by stating that they would add an extra teacher’s aide to each elementary school. Throughout the past semester, the aides were released at the end of the quarter (both quarters) and were only taken back on a couple weeks later. Also, this is one teacher’s aide per school; a three-strand school would have to share the aide among three different classes.
It is not exactly clear what is going to happen this semester. I know that at Carrie Busey, several parents have stepped up to the plate and have been helping out in the classrooms. Parents have also been in contact with Administration and they seem to have a favorable impression of Trevor Nadrozny, who is trying hard to find solutions and also keep a line of communication open with parents. When I emailed Judy Wiegand with these concerns she replied (and gave me permission to quote):
We have been holding discussions around this issue and plan on adding a Kindergarten and first grade class for 2012-13 to address class size. We are discussing location of the additional classrooms at the Leadership meeting tomorrow [Jan 5th] and once the BOE has been notified we will certainly work with Lynn to publicize it. Our timeline is to have decisions made prior to Choice forums so parents are aware.
Yet this does not exactly spell out what will happen for Spring 2012. It is awesome to see parents getting involved, and I hope that trend continues. It is awesome to see folks in Administration taking parents seriously and responding appropriately. And I am ever thankful for our teachers – I have not heard a peep of complaint from them at all! 🙂
Another little interesting tidbit to come out of this centers around Registration itself. I have more to say about registration (imagine that!), but the purposes of this post, I was given a story of how one parent was not even aware of the need to register in March. Apparently, in 2011 there were a significant number of parents registering in August, and some of those allegedly already had children in school. So whatever Unit 4 did in early 2011 did not reach some parents. For whatever reason. Are there other ways in which Unit 4 can communicate with the community? Put up brochures in libraries/churches? More exposure on TV/radio?