Building Strong Classrooms
"How do they make those class lists, anyway?"
Creating Those Class Lists
One of the most often asked questions that parents ask is, “So, how does the school make up those class lists?" Each year, we work to improve our current practices, to better meet the needs of our learners. To that end, the staff is always working to refine our Class Building Practices.
The following areas are carefully considered:
- Class Size & Gender Ratio
- Special Needs (IEPs, etc)
- Independence Level
- Balance of Skills & Interests
- Social & Emotional Needs
- Peer Relationships
- Academic Achievement
- Work Habits
Each of these areas is important to consider and it can be a tricky balancing act. Classroom teachers, PE, Art, Music, LMC teachers, special education staff, Title 1 staff, the school counselor, our Special Education Director and the building principals all play a part in working together to ensure that we are creating a balance of the different elements shown above on each of our class lists. Each person brings a different perspective on how certain children or groups of children work, play and interact with one another. In a time where being able to work with others in a variety of ways is so critical, we will be looking carefully at all of the members of this new classroom community and how they relate to each other. We look at who the students work well with, who they may not work well with, as well as double checking to make sure they see a familiar face when they walk in on that first day. After all, who likes going to a party where they don't know anyone? Run-through activities may be used to see how groups interact and work together. After an exhaustive review process, each group will be assigned to a homeroom teacher.
It is important for all involved to understand that there are sometimes pieces that are outside of everyone's control. Staff may change grade levels or even leave Winskill, students may move... and what looks "perfect" in June may end up having to be adjusted over the course of the summer. This is a large part of why classroom placements are not shared until school registration in August.
Last year, we added a new element to our process:
- Parental Input
Because we understand how much you care about your children and appreciate the role that you play in their education, we see your input as being a vital part of this process. Quite often, parents will ask this year's teacher to recommend a teacher or ask for a specific teacher for the following year. We are asking that you NOT do this. Instead, if you have specific issues, concerns, or wish to request to not have your child placed with a specific teacher or student, please complete one of the Parental Input Forms, following the guidelines given on the form. Completing a Parent Input Form is not required, but we want to give you an opportunity to share your thoughts with us. The more information you can share as to the “why” behind your concerns, the better able we are to understand. We do ask that a different form is used for each child.
While we cannot guarantee that we can meet every request, having your input and insight is important to us. The completed forms should be returned to Mrs. Whitford in a sealed envelope. These forms are considered highly confidential and are treated as such.
Should you have any questions about this or any part of the process, please feel free to contact Mrs. Whitford at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 608-723-4066 ext 101.
Thank you for being our partner in your child’s education!