Class Sizes in Lower Elementary

At our last regular Board meeting, I discussed how we monitor class sizes, especially at the lower elementary level, and how different parameters impact class sizes. Our class sizes in lower elementary currently range from 16* to 27 students per class. We prefer to keep these classes at 25 students or fewer. Unfortunately, there are quite a few things that impact these sizes.

Many of you have heard me mention that “students don’t come in nice, neat little packages.” We’re not making widgets here. We can’t set a certain class size and just turn students away from the district when all of the seats are full. Significant differences in class sizes can appear when there are multiple schools at a given grade level, and those schools have few teachers teaching at that grade level.

Imagine a school with 47 students projected for next year’s kindergarten class. The principal staffs that grade with two teachers, resulting in projected class sizes of 23 and 24. However, the week before school starts, three more kindergarten students register for that school, bringing the class sizes to 25 each. The following week, two more students register, bringing the class sizes to 26 students in each. With the addition of just two students, the school now exceeds 25 students in each class in that grade.

Now take a school like F.AVE, for example, where you might have 15 teachers all teaching the same grade level, with that grade level not being taught anywhere else. If those teachers were serving 375 students (i.e., 25 students per class), the school could “absorb” another 15 students before every class in that grade exceeds 25 students.

The neighborhood schools we cherish are amazing! But they are also inefficient. Like many things in life, we have to take the good with the bad, and one of the undesirable outcomes of having a handful of small lower elementary schools is that there can be considerable variability in class sizes from grade to grade within a building and from building to building within a grade. As we monitor class sizes, when we see “hot spots” (like we saw at Clairemont and Glennwood this year) we take a look at the specific circumstances surrounding that potential need and make a judgement call as to whether or not we assign additional resources (like a teacher or a para) to help lower the ratio of students to adults in that area. In the case of Clairemont and Glennwood this year, those circumstances led us to add a teacher at each school.

In case you are interested, here are our lower elementary class sizes as of the writing of this post (prior to adding the two teachers mentioned previously). Hopefully, the above information helps lend context to why one would see considerable variability in class sizes for these grades.

Class Size 2017 - K

Class Size 2017 - 1

Class Size 2017 - 2

Class Size 2017 - 3

 

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New System for Staffing Schools

Over the last several months the administrative team has been working hard to develop a robust, sustainable model for staffing our schools. The slides below are from my presentation to the Board on 2/21/17.

While the slides will give a feel for the direction we are going, I encourage you to take advantage of any opportunities to participate in a live presentation of the material to gain a more complete understanding. I have presented this to other groups, such as the Teacher Advisory Council, and principals have begun presenting it as well. Please feel free to reach out to me, or one of our principals, if your group is interested in learning more.

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Enrollment Projections Working Group

I’m looking for folks willing to assist the district with producing our annual enrollment projections. We need expertise in various areas, including demographics, sociology, real estate, statistics, survey methodology, data presentation, economics, geo-spatial analysis, etc.

This working group will review available data, identify and procure additional data sources, develop analysis frameworks, and, ultimately, produce enrollment projections for the next five (or more) years. Much of the work of the group can be done individually, virtually, or in small groups, but some work will need to be completed as an entire group in face-to-face meetings. Time commitments will vary depending on areas of expertise and interest, and will be cyclical (for example, little work following publication of projections and much more work in the months following the October student count).

If you are interested in assisting the district with this vital task, or know of someone who might be, please complete the form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CSD-EnrProjWorkGrp. We hope to get this working group formed during January 2017 and will work with selected members to establish a calendar of activities at that time.

More Enrollment Information

Twice a year, the district works with the Georgia Department of Education to certify our official enrollment. The following data are from our October certified enrollments this year (2016-17) and previous years. As promised in my last post on this topic (2016-17 Enrollment), here are some additional analyses of these data.

The following two graphs are repeats from the last post, with some minor improvements to them.

enrollment-by-year

16-17-enrollment-by-grade

The following graph presents grade level enrollments by school for the 2016-17 school year.

16-17-enrollment-by-school

It’s interesting to examine the relative sizes of our grade levels and how they have changed over time.

enrollment-by-grade-by-year

Each of our grade levels grow a little differently. The following set of graphs present year-over-year enrollments by grade level, along with the associated percent change for each year.

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Many of us in the community, myself included, are concerned with the decreasing racial diversity in our schools. The following graphs present information on distributions by race. The “Non-White” categorization includes students from all races other than White, including, for instance, our Black, Hispanic, and Asian students, as well as our students indicating multiple races. The vast majority of our students are either White or Black, so the “Non-White” categorization is designed to present information on our diversity without leaving out information on students who are part of very small categories.

16-17-race-by-school

While the count of “Non-White” students continues to increase along with the count of White students, the percentage of the total enrollment represented by the former has been steadily decreasing for many years.

non-white-by-year

The following graphs present the same information for each grade level individually.

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I hope you have found this information helpful. I look forward to sharing future data analyses for your consideration.

 

 

 

 

2016-17 Enrollment

Twice a year, the district works with the Georgia Department of Education to certify our official enrollment. The following data are from our October certified enrollments this year (2016-17) and previous years. Stay tuned for additional analyses of these data in the near future.

2016-17 K-12 Enrollment

Grade
K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Σ
Elementary
Clairemont 74 74 84 87 319
Glennwood 75 75 63 73 286
Oakhurst 110 123 118 109 460
Westchester 75 76 73 68 292
Winnona Park 113 100 120 101 434
F.AVE 454 429 883
Middle School
RMS 391 375 356 1122
High School
DHS 362 337 290 255 1244
Σ 447 448 458 438 454 429 391 375 356 362 337 290 255 5040

chart1

October Certified K-12 Enrollment

Increase
Year Enrollment # %
2009-10 2687
2010-11 2894 207 7.7%
2011-12 3256 362 12.5%
2012-13 3649 393 12.1%
2013-14 3975 326 8.9%
2014-15 4345 370 9.3%
2015-16 4661 316 7.3%
2016-17 5040 379 8.1%
2009-10 to 2016-17 2353 87.6%

chart2