With the growth of the Oswego 308 School District, the Board of Education will begin to start looking at classroom sizes and the options available.
At the Monday night board meeting, Superintendent Matthew Wendt brought to attention the variety of numbers across the district in terms of students in classes.
He mentioned, for example, that two sections of fifth grade at Hunt Club and two sections of kindergarten at Long Beach each had 16 students apiece, while a fifth grade at Churchill and a fourth and second grade at Homestead have between 30 and 33 students each.
“Once we get into that 32, 33 category you can imagine the situation we find ourselves in to add the next teacher,” said Wendt. Adding a new teacher to that classroom drops the average to around 16 students.
Classrooms with students in the low to mid 20’s Wendt said do not pose a problem, but the ones in the high 20’s and rising into the 30’s do.
Currently Wendt is working to get a report on how many students are in each individual elementary class, and will then move onto the junior high, which he said is more problematic.
If the school hired more teachers, Wendt said, would there even be any place to put the new classroom?
He asked fellow board members for their suggestions or opinions on the matter.
Brent Lightfoot suggested adding a column for the total number of useable classrooms in each building. “If we wanted to create another class, could we?” he asked. “We can’t always look at capacity numbers.”
Wendt said that some classrooms designated for certain activities, like reading time, could be made into classrooms. “If it’s acceptable that we make those changes, would we want those to be classrooms?”
Some rooms that could be up for use, for example, have no windows or are smaller than normal.
“We need to talk about the size of the rooms,” said board vice-president Alison Swanson.
“As long as we have a common understanding of what a room is, that’s fine,” said Lightfoot. He suggested that if absolutely necessary programs like ‘art on a cart’ could be brought back. “We’ve done it before, we can do it again.”
“Not every elementary classroom is created equal,” said Wendt, saying that was the problem at just looking at the number of classrooms. “Are there classrooms where can put 30 kids? Are there classrooms we cannot physically put 30 kids?”
A more detailed report will be available once each elementary school has been examined.