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Inclusion Classes: What is the Maximum Class Size?

desksWe heard that some classrooms were being shuffled at Greenacres Elementary School to make room for a larger inclusion class, which mixes general and special education students together with two teachers. We were curious about maximum class enrollments and wrote to Andrew Patrick, the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Leadership Development in Scarsdale. Here are his responses to our questions:

Q: I heard that the fourth grade inclusion class at Greenacres has been expanded to 28 students- is this true?

A: No. The class is at 26 presently.

Q: Can you clarify the district policy on maximum class size? Where is this policy detailed?

A: The Board does not have a formal class size policy, but has guidelines that are adhered to as closely as possible. The guideline is for 22 students in grades K-3, and 24 in grades 4-5. These guidelines were established by a district committee in 2001 (down from 24 and 26, respectively). This can, and has, been exceeded in two types of instances: 1) enrollment increases after the August 15 cutoff date for adding new sections; 2) special education classes operating in the integrated co-teach model (2 full time teachers assigned to the class) . The Greenacres 4th grade enrollment happens to meet both exceptions.

Q: For inclusion classes, does the ratio between general education and special needs students need to be 50/50?

A: The State guidelines for the special education integrated co-teach model cap the number of special education students at 12. We, however, try to stay at or above 60% general education students, and at or below 40% special education students (this class has been, and continues to be, well within that.)

Q: Were general education students added to the class to maintain the balance?

A: There were no special adjustments necessary.

Q: How large is the classroom?

A: I don't know the square footage off hand, but we are moving the group to a larger room for comfort.

Q: What is the staffing?

A: 1 general education teacher, 1 special education teacher, 2 teacher aides

Q: Do we have other elementary school classes in the district that exceed the recommended maximum number of students?

A: We have a Kindergarten section at Edgewood that is at 23 (also integrated co-teach).

The district sent out these two notices about enrollment and transportation for the 2018-19 school year:

Online Registration for Kindergarten:

The Scarsdale School District offers a registration system which allows parents/guardians to enter student information online. The registration window for incoming kindergarten students for the 2018-2019 school year will open on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, and will remain open through Wednesday, January 31, 2018. Children whose fifth birthday falls on or before December 31, 2018, may be registered for the 2018-2019 school year.

Before you begin the online registration process, please gather all documents for uploading. For further information about the documents that you will need and for access to the system, click here:

Enrollment in one of the five elementary schools (Edgewood, Fox Meadow, Greenacres, Heathcote and Quaker Ridge) is determined by the neighborhood in which you reside. If you do not know which elementary school serves your neighborhood, please call the District Registrar, Maria Miraglia, at (914) 721-2444, or send an email to mmiraglia@scarsdaleschools.org.

Transportation:

Transportation is provided to all students in the District to the District schools, and to schools outside the District, provided that the student resides within the Scarsdale School District and resides more than 1.5 miles from the school s/he attends, up to a distance of 15 miles. The distances in each case are measured using the nearest available publicly maintained route from home to school.

Applications for transportation to private and parochial schools for the following school year can be submitted online between February 1 and by April 1; new residents must apply within 30 days of establishing residency in the District. To request transportation, click here.

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Comments   

#8 J Gold 2018-01-23 08:40
Here's a simple math equation:

FACILITIES IMPROVEMENTS + SMALLER CLASS SIZE = HIGHER TAXES

School taxes are likely to increase over time as we build more. Maintaining a small average class size also has a cost. Unless we are willing to pay ever-higher taxes, and be stuck with that burden even after our kids leave home, we should compromise our ambitions on one or both of these factors.

Personally, I think we should maintain carefully what we have in facilities and do whatever we can, here and now, with respect to programming and teaching, including whatever solutions work best to accommodate our special needs children.

Those who care more about facilities (gyms, lounges, new wings and so forth) might want to consider endowing such things themselves.
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#7 Special Needs Kids Need Their Own Class 2018-01-11 09:47
Yes, I said it. Inclusion classes harm special needs kids as they are not getting the full attention they deserve and the non-special needs kids are being ignored because the teacher's attention will always go towards the kids that need the attention. Is inclusion a state mandated item or is it voluntary? If the latter, Scarsdale schools should reconsider.
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#6 Parent as well 2018-01-09 15:39
Inclusion class sounds good in principle and having kids exposed to different situations. HOWEVER, I have someone that I worked with who had first hand experience with it. He's daughter has the light form of ADHD (not sure what label is) and was part of an inclusion class in second grade. During the year she fell behind so much that they started worrying. It turned out it was making so much difficult for kids to focus as there was so much more commotion with the inclusion class (even changing tasks). They ended up adding tutors for the kid and then moved to a different class and now the kid is back on track.
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#5 Parent 2018-01-08 14:10
I am okay with my my child taking their turn being in the integrated class. I am not okay with my child being in class that is over the size cap because of that, This should not be allowed. If any class goes over cap after school starts if should not be the integrated class.
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#4 Parent 2018-01-08 10:55
There is a first grade integrated co-teach class at Quaker Ridge that also exceeds the recommended maximum number of students. I find it disappointing that Andrew Patrick failed to mention that in his Q&A. My bigger fear is that he might not even know about it. It was also disappointing that the parents of the students in this section were not told until well after the school year had started.
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#3 Too large 2018-01-05 22:26
28 students is too large for this class. Even at 26 now, it just isn’t a very good experience.
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#2 Parent 2 2018-01-05 16:12
I think people need to take a deep breath. 7:1 student teacher ratio is pretty outstanding. Given the fairly homogenous profile in this town it couldn't hurt to be exposed to those that need the inclusion class.
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#1 Parent 2018-01-04 13:52
I would be very upset if my child was in an inclusion clas that was allowed to go over cap. I heard that there are actually 2 more students coming in to this class. Are parents just accepting this?
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