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Class Placement at Forestdale and Oak Ridge for 2015-2016

by Marc J. Smith, Forestdale Principal and Trish Hill, Oak Ridge Principal

Since very early on in the reconfiguration conversation, many people have been interested in how we will determine student placement.  We recognized the challenges that our new configuration would pose when determining class lists and in assigning teachers and knew it was something that we wanted to approach thoughtfully.

We began by exploring how other schools have effectively completed this work.  Earlier in the year, we conducted site visits to three different districts (East Bridgewater, Mansfield and Duxbury).  These districts had that same configuration that we will be moving towards next year and also had similar sized schools to what Sandwich will have next year.  We asked several questions about their class placement processes and followed up our visits with additional phone conversations with the principals of those buildings.

We next explored the practices being utilized currently in our three schools to look for good practices that should continue.  Then, we drew a concept map/flow chart that included all the steps that needed to be accomplished and established a process and procedure.

Lastly, we shared the process overview with the staff  and now we would like to share this information with families.

Below please find a step by step description of the process:

  1. Classroom teachers in all three schools will complete student profile cards which look at 28 different elements of each child that may be helpful in placing the child the following year. Some of these items include: reading and math proficiency, independence, work in groups, intervention services, specific health needs, etc.
  2. Teachers will create “learning partners” from the students currently in their classrooms. Learning Partners are groups of 2-3 students that would be a good match to move on together the following year.
  3. Special education teachers from across the district meet to determine the needs of students with IEP’s and determine the best placement for each of these children.
  4. Teachers will work with their colleagues from across the district to create classes for the following year (i.e. grade two teachers will create next year’s grade three classes) during the May 6th professional development half-day.
    1. In creating these classes, they will regularly monitor several areas to ensure well balanced classrooms. These areas include: numbers of boys and girls, number of students from each sending school, academic needs and behavioral needs.
    2. Staff that are not classroom teachers (specialists, therapists, social workers, etc.) will be working with the teachers throughout this day.
    3. At this time the classes will not be assigned a teacher.
  5. The class lists will then undergo a thorough review by the administrative team.
    1. This review will include a review of the Parent Placement Survey. This survey was sent home to families via Alert Now and are available here as well.
    2. Lists will be finalized.
    3. The administrative team will assign teachers to each of the classes.
  6. At Forestdale, we will use a similar process for creating our kindergarten classrooms utilizing data collected from screenings, parent survey and preschool transition forms.
  7. Class lists will be posted at each of the schools by August 1st.

Please know that we understand how important the development of a class structure is to a successful year for all our students.  Our process has been developed with the students in mind.  Our goal is to ensure each child is placed into a classroom that meets his academic needs in a supportive environment that fosters growth in all areas and we will be ever mindful of this throughout the class placement process.