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Nearly 500 new students join District 308, District Attempts to Keep Classroom Sizes Balanced

The AYP scores and resulting failure of six schools in the district open up Choice options as well.

When the Fiscal Year 2013 budget was announced with a $5.5 million deficit at the , that number was riding on the assumption that there were 17,561 students enrolled in District 308.

Superintendent Matthew Wendt announced at the August 27 board meeting that number has now inflated to 17,739 students and that nearly 500 new students have joined the district. District 308 is expecting to see enrollments through August and even potentially past Labor Day.

With the increase in students, the district is working to keep classrooms balanced.

Wendt said there are highs and lows in class sizes across the district, but in terms of core classes at the junior high level they are trying to keep those lower.

For example, across all five junior highs, the average class size for mathematics and language arts is 23. But at the new Murphy Junior High classes are closer to 21 students and at Thompson classes are closer to 28 students.

“Non-core classes will tend to have smaller class sizes,” said Wendt, of subjects like art or foreign languages.

At the elementary level, the district has elementary classrooms with 29 or more students. Some schools, like Homestead and Churchill, have seen classes of up to 33 students while other schools cap out around 26 or so students. Wendt said the classrooms were not designed for classes of those size.

Wendt said the incoming enrollments are causing elementary class sizes to become larger and the Board should anticipate the averages changing.  “We’ll need to have a dialogue soon about the schools that are in the 30 plus range,” said Wendt.

One solution Wendt proposed for future thought is taking new students moving into the district and placing them in schools where the class sizes are a lower average.

Other students are moving around as well due to the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) report that has marked six schools within the district as having failed for a second time and are now required to offer Choice.

The schools that did not make AYP for a second year, and are required to offer Choice include: Boulder Hill and Long Beach Elementary Schools, Traughber, Plank and Thompson Junior Highs and Oswego East High School. However, since Oswego High School also did not make AYP students at East cannot transfer over.

Kristine Liptrot, Director of Communications, said based on the number of affected students, a very low amount have chosen to switch to a different school. “Typically what parents look for is the reason why the school didn’t may AYP and if their child was affected.”

So far 39 students have opted to switch to another school due to Choice.

The final deadline for parents to switch their children’s schools using Choice is August 28 for some and August 29 for others, depending on when they received their letter alerting them to the AYP status.

Director of District Student Services Christine Nelson said of the children switching schools, so far only 4 students are not able to be accommodated using an existing bus route in the area. She said the district will search for other transportation options, including the possibility of taxi cabs.

Martin August 30, 2012 at 07:05 PM
JimmyJ, I knew you were being sarcastic. :) All is good. We've been fighting with the school district over my eldest since Kindergarten. Undiagnosed ADHD and the school not wanting to work with us over it. And when we got the diagnosis, the LD\BD leader refused to acknowledge it. Luckily a very gifted Principal offered help during a meeting that my wife took. The LD\BD director looked like he was going to crap all over himself at the thought. We took it and pulled my kid 3 days later. Two years of homeschooling and a complete change in the LD\BD program, she's back in regular school, thriving and enjoying most days.
JimmyJ August 30, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Martin, sounds like we have been on the same road. We made the mistake of going along with them and when I sat in on the ld class and found they were 4 lessons back from the regular class in the same books we took him out and that was a battle. So he attends StPaul in aurora. I don't recall bis sisters reading things like east of eden or heart of darkness as required reading their whole time in d308 but they are required in 8th grade here. Probably too old school. So much for the ld designation. They are way too quick to lable but that's how the spec ed co op survives..gotta have kids to bill for!!
Leland H. Hoffer September 01, 2012 at 06:50 PM
JimmyJ, I don't where you came up with using my name, (on Aug. 29), that I would say a feeder system will not work in a real world. My position is that a feeder system is the most logical system and although not perfect will work well provided there is planning to properly locate schools and their boundarys. The planning begins before developement construction with coordination of local governments to insure proper location of schools. Unfortunately, although I encouraged D308 administrations to coordinate on local conceptional plans there was little effort and locating school sites were not obtained in the best locations. Paul Lark and I both advocated an additional elementary and a Jr. High on the North-West side of the river but it was completely ignored. Boundaries do have to be changed at times to balance enrollmnets and the boundary decisions have to be begin at the elementary schools level because they are the basic block of the system. Changing boundaries starting with the Jr. Highs or High Schools to establish boundaries only leads to futue problems and explains why boundaries have been problimatic in D308. If you want the entire history give me a call.
JimmyJ September 01, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Perhaps I misunderstood your comments, I heard them some time ago so my memory must not have recalled them correctly. The system as it stands now while it functions, does not function as it could because it was, if not poorly planned, planned not as it should have been. Would that be a fair comment?
Leland H. Hoffer September 02, 2012 at 03:19 AM
There certainly was misunderstanding because I have never said that a feeder system would not work. The system has not operated as it should because of lack of planing for location of schools and poor decisions on drawing proper boundaries starting with the elementary schools. Recent school locations have been a result of what was left available instead of planned in cocept plans. Bouindaries have been decided not on what was logical but what some wanted and normally after the boundaries should have been adjused.

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