Posts tagged ‘Class size’

Class size and the September Shuffle

A parent writes:  “My kid ended up at XYZ CPS School.  At first i was freaking out because the class sizes were 32 ,32 and 33.  After about 2 weeks or so we heard through a parent that we were “getting” an extra class but it would be a half day only.  No one signed up for it so we waited for the next repsonse, that came a few days later,they then said we would get a full time teacher and that they would take 5 kids from each class and put into the new one. ”

I seem to recall having a conversation about this topic with a parent last Spring.  Perhaps even this exact same parent — who knows after all my school-related yammering sessions.  Anyhow, the parent claimed that the school had small classes, to which I replied that you never know how many neighborhood kids will walk in on that first day or school and surprise the principal.  Schools that are in the growing stage will often take in a bunch of kids via the CPS lottery, which makes sense since each kid is really a check for $$$ disguised as a cute little munchkin with a giant backpack.  More kids = more money.  But… how is a school to know how many to take in?  They want to have nice mid-size classrooms, but what happens when kids from the hood show up who haven’t registered?  The school has to take them in and mad scrambling ensues.  As it did in this school. 

The “rule” with CPS is that if you have more than 28 kids, you get another teacher.  But lets face it – they won’t pay for another teacher if you have 29 or 30, splitting the class into 15/15.  The reality is that sometimes they will let the classrooms go higher than 28 or even 30.  Then if you wind up with one or two crazy-energy kids in there, running the giant classroom becomes every adult’s worst nightmare (well, mine at least.)   So just to be sure kids have ended up where they really want to be, CPS waits almost 3 weeks before officially taking the count and assigning the new teachers.  And with a new teacher is usually the need to scramble for classroom furniture and supplies.  Stuff don’t just show up all shiny and new because you added another teacher.  In any case, it results in September chaos and kids being shifted to different teachers and classrooms just when they get used to their first one.  The kind of stuff that makes parents of Kindergarteners crazy when all we wanted was a peaceful transition into school.

In the end, it worked out well at this school because they ended up with nice small class sizes.  And they were able to find a way to pay for the Full Day Kindergarten out of their limited funds.

What to do about it?  Get the school to do everything in their power to encourage registation well before school starts.  See if someone can post little flyers at the local park reminding people to register for school.  When you encounter people who say their child is attending your school say “you ARE registered, right?!” and express shock and moral disapproval if they say no.  Stand at the entryway and heckle those who are not registered on day 1.  Not really on that last one unless you’re pretty brave.

October 8, 2008 at 1:34 pm 6 comments




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