Sowams School parents plead for another teacher
Dear School Committee Members, Barrington Public Schools Mission Statement: The Barrington Public Schools will empower all students to excel. This mission statement exemplifies the reason we are writing to voice our concerns about the current and future class size of Sowams Elementary’s current 1st grade class. We are in agreement that it is critical, in both keeping with Barrington Public Schools mission statement, and more importantly for the success of our children, that a fourth teacher be added for the 2013/2014 Sowams 2nd grade class. Many parents have individually taken the time to address the current issue of the large class sizes in our first grade class: two 25 student classes and one 26 student class, well above the historic 18-21 students per class. There are several reasons we collectively feel this is a critical issue to be addressed as our children move forward but most importantly, that it relates directly to the district’s own mission: Empowering all students to excel. If we fail to supply the necessary resources to empower our children to succeed, especially at such early ages of development, it is not reasonable to then in turn expect them to excel in an increasingly competitive scholastic environment. We are requesting that the language in the budget be changed so as to guarantee that the current "placeholder" funds be used to hire a fourth 2nd grade teacher at Sowams. The following supports our reasoning for this request: · An elementary class of 25 & 26 students, with more expected to enroll over the summer is not only unfair to our young children and the expectations placed on them but is also unacceptable in a district that prides itself in providing the highest level of academics. · As it is understood, Primrose currently has 18/19 per class for the same grade and Nayatt has 20/21 per class for the same grade. This puts our students at a clear disadvantage with the expectations that will be placed upon them for the same academics. · The lack of attention to students will impact the teacher’s ability to address the common core standards. If these students are going to be expected to take the 3rd grade assessment next year, we need to adequately prepare them during their second grade year. · The Common Core will only succeed if our teachers are given every opportunity to meet the challenges associated with implementing an entirely new curriculum. Smaller classroom sizes, as the data suggests, will greatly assist in reaching the goals associated with the Common Core. It is unreasonable to expect our educators to maintain the same level of excellence while increasing their class sizes. To quote the Tennessee STAR report, "The benefits of small classes have potential for cost savings, social benefits, and long-term pupil gains. Fewer school dropouts and lower retention-in-grade...have immediate and long-term cost implications, such as increased numbers of college- bound students." · We are concerned not addressing the current class size of 25/26 students is setting a precedent where this size in the future will then be deemed acceptable when it is not. We ask that you recognize the importance of class size in the early grades and its direct correlation with student success. · This same issue, which came up at Nayatt Elementary, with the same grade and class sizes, was successfully addressed in 2011 – we would expect the same attention and resolution for our students. http://barrington.patch.com/articles/nayatt-classroom-sizes-raise-eyebrows We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to consider our request and look forward to working together to achieve a common goal, the successful education of our children.