Large Kindergarten class sizes for 2010-2011 (and beyond)

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?

Advertisements

4 Responses to “Large Kindergarten class sizes for 2010-2011 (and beyond)”

  1. Chuck Jackson Says:

    This goes to the “aren’t teachers just the best” sort of drivel that no lawyer or even assembly line worker would dream of saying. “Just pile more on, I’m a dutiful little worker happy for everyone to dump all over me, because I’m dedicated! Oh, and by the way, no need for more money because I have instrinsic motivation!”

    Don’t mean to burst some idealized bubble (I guess I do actually) but the fact that teachers haven’t complained doesn’t say much. Why would they? Who listens? We have nearly three dozen kindergarten teachers in the district, right? 11 schools, averaging three strands each. That’s no small work force. It is larger than many local businesses. Can you imagine George over at Do it Best Hardware saying, “Everyone – this year you all work 10% more hours, and the complexity of the store is increasing geometrically. We have no additional employees, you just have to put in more time to make sure you are getting the job done. And no, there is nothing extra in your paycheck – things are tough, you just have to absorb it” That’s what we’re asking our teachers to do. This doesn’t account for the extra parent contact hours, report cards and assessments, copying, everything is harder. With more kids, each one gets less of the teacher – do you suppose that makes the job easier or harder? Are they more or less likely to be compliant angels when they have to shout over two dozen other voices who each wants the love and encouragement so many teachers have to offer.

    We want the kids to LOVE school. To feel happy at school. If they spend one of their first years ever in a school being warehoused it won’t matter if we have new science labs at Central and Centennial because they will leave school long before they ever have a chance to see them.

    Happy to talk about this (and I hope Unit 4 people are reading along). I have lots more to say but at the moment, I gotta go to another school meeting, yay!

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    Quick note – I should probably clarify that the “not a peep” of complaint refers to prior to Jan 4th. As of Jan 4th, I heard from parents/teachers and they have some real concerns.

  3. jamom Says:

    Maybe those late registering families were making some sort of statement about the lottery.

    Is the bump in class size how Unit 4 is explaining how kids got into Barkstall after the traditional schedule schools started? The kids that I know were assigned other schools in April, were waitlisted for Barkstall, and Labor Day week or the next week (my memory is fuzzy, but it is around then), were off the waitlng list and attending Barkstall.

  4. charlesdschultz Says:

    jamom, yes, that is what I am hearing. But I do not have first-hand knowledge of the facts, though.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: