An email today from East High teachers

For now I’ll refrain from commentary:

Dear School Board Member,

The East building stewards are following up with a Meet and Confer that took place as the school year was starting. We continue to be concerned about class size at East and encourage you to review the data.

Before school started on August 28th the Union Stewards at East hosted a Meet and Confer meeting with Superintendent Gronseth and Assistant Superintendent Starzecki regarding class size. Presently there are over 1,564 students enrolled for the 2015-2016 school year (as of 12/7/15). Throughout this process we have worked closely with our building administrator and were hopeful that additional FTE could be secured for East that would address the areas of concern. These areas are referred to as hot spots and highlight the overcrowded classes. As building stewards and classroom teachers we are advocating for smaller class sizes. Recently, math intervention courses were eliminated to use building FTE to reduce class sizes in math. The need for additional FTE to meet this need was brought up at the August meeting to avert having to cancel courses that could help reduce learning gaps. There continues to be a need for additional FTE and support at East where the enrollment is quite large.

When the levy was passed one of the key focus areas was reducing class size. Our data from the last 5 years would indicate this has not happened at East. We encourage you to review the data and ask for your support to funnel funding into the classroom.

Thank you for your time and commitment to serve as a school board member.

The following data generated on August 20th provides a breakdown of classes by size over 30:

Classes 31-34 143
Classes 35-39 121
Classes 40 and over 37

In other words:
Sections over 30: 307
Sections 35 and over: 158
Sections over 40: 37

Hot Spots at East
Although there are large class sizes in a number of content areas, the following are the content areas with CONSISTENTLY LARGE classes:
Math
Science
Physical Ed

Not-so-easy to see hot spots
Team taught classes (where some are sitting over 30 students with 16 on IEPs)

Other actions taken/elements in play
Conflicts (so some students are not scheduled or are scheduled in study halls even though they initially registered for courses)
Combining of mediums sized classes” and because the combined class it too large, bumping out students
Other FTE adjustments that have had adverse impacts on remaining courses (switching courses to other course and then having to distribute the students across the existing classes)

Larger class sizes or disrupted scheduling in reaction to overloaded classes may drive student to PSEO or may make it more difficult to retain students in the margin (increasing our drop-out rate/widening the achievement gap).

Respectfully submitted East building stewards,

Gayle Franckowiak, Greg Jones, Catherine Nachbar