What are North Allegheny’s class size guidelines and how will things change under the new model?

North Allegheny has class size guidelines of 25 students for primary grades (K-2) and 30 students for intermediate grades (3-5). The administration has noted that class size guidelines are NOT maximums.

Guidelines vs. actuals

–Demographics and Feasibility Update- October 2012

The administration has demonstrated that it is willing to let class sizes go above 30 students by accepting 4th grade classes of 31 and 32 students at Hosack this year. Hosack also has two 3rd grade classes with 30 students each.

It’s important to note that other school districts, like Pine-Richland, treat 3rd grade as a primary grade (instead of an intermediate grade) and thus maintain smaller class sizes. The school board has acknowledged that 3rd grade is a formative year and that the district has tried to hold 3rd grade classes closer to 25 students/class like other primary grades.

Per the Nov 28, 2012 school board minutes:

11.28.12 quotes- final

–NASD Official School Board Minutes- November 28, 2012

However, under the new model, the “number of available seats” is calculated based on 30 students in every 3rd grade class.  At McKnight, every 3rd grade class would have had 29 students in it and several 3rd grade classes across the district would have been at 27+ students. In fact, if Peebles had closed this year, the average 3rd grade class would have been 26.8 students at North Allegheny.

As you can see from the chart, the average 3rd grade class size at Pine-Richland is 21 students, the average 3rd grade class size at Mt. Lebanon is 21 students, and the average 3rd grade class size at Hampton is 24 students.

Bottom line: If Peebles is closed, 3rd grade classes at North Allegheny would be 5-6 students higher than the average 3rd grade class size in other districts.

Class Size other schools AVG as of 1.31.13-page-001

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Comments
  1. Maura Rodgers says:

    Thank you for all the research and time this must take !!!

  2. Kevin Mahler says:

    This has been my biggest concern all along. The administration likes to say that fewer schools does not mean larger classes – but the rationale for closing a school rests on the assumption of larger class sizes. This not only hurts students, but has the potential to seriously impact perceptions of the district among prospective parents – and thus may hurt our property values.

  3. Mr. Pi says:

    It is funny how those in charge use averages to hide the larger class sizes. 30+ students in any class of any age is unacceptable for both the parents and teachers. There is no way for a student to receive any individual attention in a class of that size.

    • I agree! If we’re willing to accept ‘guidelines’ and not maximums, then we better be ready for classes to be 25+ in K-2 and 30+ in grades 3-5. It’s already happening this year, and the administration has done nothing despite the desperate pleas of parents.

  4. Lynn Tonti says:

    In my opinion closing Peebles would be a big mistake. My children attended Peebles and the enrollment increased nearly every year. During a couple of their years, Peebles had grades with 4 sections. Having Peebles as our district Hearing Impaired school is also a very special and important part of our elementary curriculum. I feel as many others do, that our school board is fast-tracking this closure under a hidden agenda. The board refused to publish the complete Phase I report for a long time (the one that recommended closing Bradford Woods). With new housing coming to McCandless, I think its crazy to close Peebles. There can be no new housing in Bradford Woods but there is new housing being built in Marshall, Franklin & soon McCandless. Closing Peebles and thus bumping children to the next school effects EVERY elementary school in our district. This comment is long enough without going into the lack of proposed “savings” this closing is projected to bring (basically none).

  5. Lise Blackburn says:

    Really nice work on this point. Third grade is a transformative year. The children are expected to become real students- learning how to regularly study and take weekly tests. This was stressed by many when my two children were in second grade at BWE and it proved to be true for us. A lower class size in this critical year is important. If teachers have too many students, then noticing and finding time to help a struggling student is difficult. Additionally, a really smart, but shy student may not get the encouragement and challenging work she needs to succeed. Every child should have an appropriate education every year, but third grade is definitely an important year.

  6. Jill Dugan says:

    Class size truly does make a huge difference. My son is a 4th grader at Hosack in the largest class in the district. Last year his class was 21 students, and this year it jumped to 32. He is having a much harder time hearing and paying attention. Thank goodness he has an excellent teacher who goes above and beyond to make sure each kid is doing his best, but his grades have dropped. I am certain that I will not be the only one experiencing these problems if this happens to everyone next year.

  7. Bonnie Genter says:

    It is sad to see that the school board is willing to make the sacrifice of these early years. My son has 32 children his fourth grade class, and this is not ideal. I think we will find more children getting frustrated and this will lead to behavior problems and poor school attitudes. It is a shame that NA can’t see this.

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