Adjusting the 4th Grade in Bloomingdale

The Saranac Lake School District, as with many other districts in our region is looking to maximize their resources and Superintendent Diane Fox says it’s important to remember that the focus should always be on what’s best for the kids…  One adjustment she’s implementing this Fall is a slight adjustment in the number of students attending each of their elementary schools, Petrova and Bloomingdale.. “Whenever a district has two or more buildings of the same grade configurations, there is at times the need for student movement, ” Fox commented, “In order to provide equitable student resources and adequate staff to student ratios.” What’s unusual this year, Fox added “Only the number of students at a particular grade level is what’s unusual.”

AUDIO – 080814 – 4th Grade CLass Sizes in the Saranac Lake Central School District

Superintendent Fox tells us the movement of children isn’t a random process but rather thoughtful and individualized using the district’s traditional division lines and flexible areas..  The Kindergarten class in Bloomingdale is coming do to it’s natural size. There were actually 22 students that would naturally go to Bloomingdale for kindergarten. Instead of adding another Kindergarten class at Bloomingdale, Fox chose to look at the traditional line and bend it as much as they could so that there would be about 18 or 19 in the Kindergarten class in Bloomingdale. “It is larger than the kindergarten classes at Petrova,” She said, “but we are trying to get rid of this cross district transportation.” At the same time what has happened is that when kids move into Bloomingdale, where there have been classes of 22 or 23 at Petrova, there have been classes of 16 or 17 in Bloomingdale.. Tracy Goetz has two children in the district – one in the second grade and one in the Fourth Grade..  She wasn’t sure why another fourth grade class wasn’t added at Petrova. “I think if there’s any way to add another 4th grade class at Petrova it should happen because the class sizes are going to be up around 26 or 27 kids per class plus teaching assistants are being taken away.” Fox says they’re trying to make this more equitable but it’s going to take some time for that to play out..  In the 2014-2015 school year class sizes are expected to be about 24 or 25 in the fourth grade, which we’re told is about what the numbers were in Petrova last year. It’s new to Bloomingdale because the class sizes were smaller. The administration added a fifth grade teacher during budget season at Petrova which has decreased the number of students in the 5th grade to about 20. “Regardless of the school that your child attends,” Fox Says, “He or she will be welcomed with open arms in September and your child will receive a quality education.”  Superintendent Fox was focused on speaking to parents… Most of the concern in the audience during the meeting was focused on teachers issues and even then on specific class sizes. The audience was comprised mostly of district staff, most of whom believed the numbers were going to be higher in each classroom. Their estimate was closer to 26 or 27 while Bloomingdale teachers are used to 18 or 19 in a class. As a general rule, the union contracts will typically allow for a range of 24 to 27 students before another teacher must be hired.

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