Earlier this month, the school division provided the 2019-20 Class Size Report to the School Board. The report consists of data collected for every school in the division as of September 30 of this year.
Low class size has been a competitive strength of our school division, and that continues to be the case this year. As the report shows, class size across all of our schools continues to average fewer than 22 students.
In general, principals decide class size depending upon the:
- Independence of the students in the class (Example: Senior classes may be larger than freshman classes.)
- Schedule (Example: Thirty students are interested in taking a class, but only one section can be offered.)
- Timing of enrollment (Example: The year begins with 22 students in a class, but new students enroll after the start of the year and their number is not sufficient to open a new class, so they are added to the existing class.)
Regarding the 2019-2020 report, three points should be noted:
- While our overall class sizes are low, there are 116 classes that exceed our own internal goals. Our principals are managing their resources to provide the greatest level of support for math and reading classes most in need.
- Schools with larger overall enrollments are increasing the division’s class size averages. The difference in class size for schools with larger overall enrollments can be as many as five or more students per class when compared to schools with smaller overall enrollments.
- We will closely track how principals apply differentiated staffing. This type of staffing is an achievement gap reduction strategy that provides more instructional staff to classes that serve higher numbers of at-risk students.
In surveys of teachers and parents, average class size has consistently been rated as a high priority, and research shows a link between lower class size and stronger academic performance. Overall, class size across the school division remains historically low.