Trustee candidates offer ideas on class size and composition

School District 33: The Progress asked trustee candidates if there was some way the district could address class size and composition.

Question:  What can the school district do locally to address class size & composition?

 

Paul McManus:

It is the experts – the teachers on the “front lines” in our classrooms – that we need to guide us in how to handle these challenges more effectively.  Our teachers are best able to determine what situations could be considered “manageable”, and which are not.  Teachers are currently in crisis management – they are individually doing the best job possible with the resources available.

However, I believe if we provide a better venue to gather these experts together, create a “task force” to help deal with the most challenging situations, we can come up with some viable solutions.  Having these great minds come together, in group brainstorming-type sessions, can lead to some amazing ideas.  Re-allocating a relatively small of amount of funding to cover TOC costs, etc. to allow this collaboration and development of ideas to happen is a small price to pay for the potential results that can come out of it.

 

Marth Wiens:

This is not a local  issue. It belongs to the provincial government and BCTF.   It will include  bargaining, it is  budget item,  with a  very high cost.

While it  effects  local governing,   the  solutions  vary  greatly.  The  answer to this point is  “funding.”  Not a simple answer.

Boards,  administration and staff will need to work  together  to  support  how this can be  resolved.

 

Rob Stelmaschuk:

Install computers in the class room that have teaching programs related the subjects being taught.This would assist students needing more one on one time and help the teachers and all the class run effectively .

 

Karen Jarvis:

The district needs to address class size and composition by adhering to the 15 recommendations put forward in the Special Education Review that was presented by Dr. Carter to the Board in early 2013. Policy 607 “Placement of Special Needs Students” and Administrative Regulation 607.1 of the policy manual have been in place since April of 1999. What has the district been doing to adhere to the policy in the School District Manual? If it had been followed, would the district have needed to spend $55,000 on a Special Ed Review? While the review/policy address special needs students, this could aid in alleviating some pressure in the classroom.

 

Dan Coulter:

Answer to your question: The school district can set class size and composition limits. This is severely hampered by funding, however. Without an increase in per pupil funding, the Learning Improvement Fund or some other instrument the school district has little freedom to significantly lower class sizes and improve composition.

 

John-Henry Harter:

Maximizing education dollars by finding new ways of reducing administration costs so that more dollars can be invested directly in the classroom would be a start. Dealing with the lack of full funding for non-enrolling teachers, such as librarians and learning assistance teachers so students get the resources and assistance they need to achieve their potential is key.

I would work to restore funding but to do that we need a board that is proactive and engages all parties in a democratic, accountable, and open way. We can no longer afford such a passive, silent board, that we have had for the past three years. Working together on solutions would allow teachers and staff, and in turn parents and students, to be supported locally and not feel abandoned. This would go a long way to facilitate lobbying for funding increases to address issues of class size and composition.

Silvia Dyck:

Currently the district has class size limits for elementary and strives to keep other classes in a reasonable range considering student choices of school and subjects.

Composition – we strive to keep 3 to 4 special needs students in any one class although this is not always possible. The Learning Improvement Fund assists in additional supports to unique classes.

The school district needs to continue the professional development of learning assistance teachers, resource teachers and education assistants to provide them with the skills and knowledge of special needs in order to more effectively  assist the classroom teacher and the students in their learning.  Our understanding of brain development and learning has increased the identification of students in a wider range of special needs. The district also needs to provide pro d for staff to continue their skill development in identification so that funds can be accessed to assist students in their category.

Walt Krahn:

I believe consultation with Teachers, Support Staff, Administrators and District Staff around resource allocation and staffing is vital.  The school staff would collaboratively develop a plan describing; the enrolment at each grade level, the learning challenges, the individual class size enrolment and classroom composition (students who are gifted, students who are progressing, and students who find learning challenging).  The School Staffing Plan would demonstrate creative solutions which would maximize learning opportunities for the students. Some classes, based on composition may be slightly smaller and have EA allocation.  Resources would be drawn from the Learning Improvement Fund to address specific needs and challenges, including the composition factors.

The District Office would receive and review the individual school staffing plans.  The plans would then be presented to the teachers’ group for review and approval.  This process would result in full staff engagement  and equity in our School District, as the difficult learning situations would receive additional teacher staffing and resources (EA assistance).  One size does not fit all…each classroom is different in composition!

Ben Besler:

There are definite limitations at the district level. However, if we continue to promote a spirit of inclusion, we can create a classroom composition that is tailored to bring out the best in every student. I promote this attitude in our home. As a parent it is exciting to watch as my special needs daughter interacts with her siblings. Her skills are developed as peer support comes into play. At the same time, their interactions help to develop her siblings skill sets by adopting a greater leadership role within their interactions. As they learn to adapt to each other’s abilities, it becomes a “win, win” for everyone. We need to consider this as we strengthen our approach to class room composition, adapting to an ever changing and diverse world.

Barry Neufeld:

Each group of children in particular classrooms is unique, and neither interference by Trustees nor clad in stone formulas are the best way to deal with the composition of students in a classroom.

The school principal, together with representatives from the Union and other helping professionals are best qualified to make decisions for each classroom. Some classes may have enrollment above the average. However in other classrooms, there may be such a significant proportion of challenging students that the class size should be lowered, or additional resources, specialist teachers and learning assistants required.

As a Trustee, I can ensure that the Learning Improvement Fund (LIF) is distributed equitably, according the unique needs of each class room. I can also continue to encourage my board, or support initiatives at the provincial level of all Boards belonging to the BC School Trustees Association to advocate to increase the LIF.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Clarinetist brings classic Christmas tunes to Chilliwack Library

Jack Kopstein was the musical entertainment for Christmas in the Stacks at the Chilliwack Library

DFO responds to ‘state of emergency’ call from First Nations

‘Our shared goal is to fully restore the sustainable, natural fish passage at the site’: DFO

Chilliwack RCMP offer tips to avoid holiday thefts

Neighbours watching out for neighbours can help avoid stolen parcels

A surprise under the mistletoe at Christmas in Williams Park

New addition to annual Langley light show records first marriage proposal

Chilliwack named as one of the most generous cities in Canada on GoFundMe

Chilliwack took the number-two spot while Kamloops was at the top of the list

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla Highway

Up to 25 cm of snow is expected to fall in the region by Thursday

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Most Read