November 11, 2011

Rule change may lead to split Kindergarten

Rule change may lead to split Kindergarten
By Jerry W. Kram
A rule regarding when children can start school may force Parshall Elementary School to split its kindergarten class this year.
When school started this year, there were 22 children signed up for kindergarten, explained Brenda Herland, principal of elementary school. That is slightly higher than the recommended number for one class, which is 20, but lower than the maximum of 25 required for accreditation. Herland said state rules had been changed to lower the age for required school attendance from seven to six, and that change had recently been brought to her attention. The new rule has meant four new kindergarten students have been enrolled since the beginning of the school year. That has brought total number of students in the class to 26.
Herland said the school the school has already been accredited for this school year, so the added students won’t affect the school’s rating. However, it could reflect badly when the school seeks accreditation for the 2012-13 school year. However, she was more concerned about the quality of teaching the students would receive in such a large class. She recommended splitting the class into two sections.
“I am a firm believer in a small student-teacher ratio, especially at that age,” Herland said. “Things like attention span, learning and socialization are all better if you don’t have that many kids.”
Superintendent John Weidner said he concurred with Herland’s recommendation.

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