School class sizes

Kindergarteners

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MASON CITY, Iowa – Most parents want their child to have the best education possible, and many teachers feel part of that process is having one on one time with their students.

But if there are too many students in the classroom, how do they go about this?

Over the past few years, there has been an emphasis on keeping class sizes in public schools as low as possible. It’s something both students and teachers both need to be successful.

Teresa Schlichting knows what it’s like to teach a class of eager kindergarteners.

Hoover Elementary School Administration Manager, Teresa Schlichting said, “Being in a classroom with up to 30 five-year old’s can be a little hectic at times.”

She is now in a more administrative role, but she remembers some of the challenges from her 11 years as an educator.

Schlichting said, “Even with many years of experience, the kids all come with different needs and it’s a lot of trial and error and hopefully you find the right fit for each child.”

Having that one -on-one time with each student is necessary to make sure they’re keeping up. That’s why it’s important to keep that class size down.

Schlichting said, “It’s not just kind of teaching to the that middle of the road and hoping you pick up all the kids along the way, we’re really digging deeper and getting to the needs of each student whether they’re a high achiever or a low achiever.”

Mason City and Clear Lake Schools Superintendent Anita Micich says, the district is doing a solid job of doing just that.

Micich said, “We try to keep, at the high school in particular, to keep our class sizes at 25 and that s kind of the bench mark across the district.”

This fall, Micich says there are 113 kindergartener’s enrolled in just one school alone. With numbers like that, there needs to be some adjustment.

“We only had four sections. That’s too many children for four sections of kindergarten. So we added, just right before school started, a fifth section.”

Reading and math specialists can also be brought into the classroom for even more personalized attention.

Micich said, “They’ll take different groups of kids so they even break down that 25/26 into even smaller groups of 6 or 10 some kids are working on their own.”

Teresa says having a co-teaching environment makes a huge difference in helping each student succeed.

She said, “They feel it, and they can see it that they aren’t getting things as well as their peers and when you can find what works, that really excites them and moves them to the next level.”

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