A controversy ensued as parents recognized that some fifth grades in town will have 17 or 18 students, and others will have 25. I noticed the difference when the numbers were first published, but I wasn't inspired to speak up since I like our three-teacher shared model so much. I felt we could handle the bigger classes.
Yet when I heard parents talk about the reasons for smaller classes, I couldn't disagree. Smaller classes do mean greater attention. Yet, then when a citizen without children spoke about the research, I wondered more. Is this a time to continue to think about one-teacher-one-classroom models of service or are we better off continuing with our three-teacher model and adding more assistants to make sure that there is plenty of staffing for targeted small group and one-to-one attention.
In the end, I'm a fan of building out our model with an assistant in each classroom and time to plan well together. I think we will be able to do a really good job with all students if we have that support and utilize more creative, flexible plans for teaching and learning, plans that include tech integration, project/problem-based learning, interdisciplinary learning units, all-team days, field studies and more.
The options of keeping things as they are, I do believe would lead to greater inequity as we simply wouldn't have the hands-on-deck that other schools have. The option of keeping the model and adding an assistant for each class would be my preference, but I'd be satisfied with adding a fourth teacher too.
Whatever the case, we'll do our best to teach and serve next year's students.