FGSD hires to reduce class size
Some students in the Forest Grove School District will return to school Monday, Sept. 17, to a different classroom with a different teacher, but it isn't the first day of school.
The district has just hired three new teachers and two instructional assistants. The additions come as a way to address the issue of student-to-teacher ratio within the district.
The changes include adding another third-grade class at Echo Shaw Elementary, a kindergarten class at Joseph Gale Elementary, a fourth-grade class at Harvey Clarke Elementary, and additional classroom support for the fourth grade at Cornelius Elementary, with two new instructional assistants who will work in classes where the need is highest, according to district spokesman David Warner.
The new teacher at Echo Shaw has started, but the rest will enter their first day Monday, almost three weeks into the school year, Warner said.
Beginning the first day of school, Wednesday, Aug. 29, for most students, Superintendent Dave Parker worked with the principals of schools across the district to identify which classes were the most crowded over the first three days.
After doing so, Parker moved to hire the new teachers and instructional assistants in the first part of a long-term effort to reduce class sizes district wide, Warner said.
"These changes have lowered average class size at Echo Shaw, Joseph Gale, (and) Harvey Clarke," Warner said. "Cornelius has received two additional instructional assistants who will help in the classrooms with the greatest need. This will allow for more smaller group instruction within the classroom."
Finding the means fiscally to reduce classroom size has been an issue nationwide in recent years, with funding for education on a downward slope.
"Two of the positions were already in the budget, but the other three positions will be new expenses," Warner said."There is still work to do and we are not where we want to be in the long run. However, by adding these positions, we are closer to the level at which our Board of Directors has outlined. We will continue to look for fiscally responsible ways to decrease class size and increase the amount of time our teachers can deliver quality instruction to our students."
Parker, who is in his first year with the Forest Grove School District, made the announcement on Sep. 1, one of the first big changes made as administrator.
"I am committed to creating a district that fosters excellent instruction," he said. "Lowering class size is one area that will assist us in accomplishing that."
Editor's Note: The story has been updated to note that Parker made the announcement on Sep. 1. The story previously stated it was earlier this week.
By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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