WESTPORT, Conn. – Fewer students will be in Westport’s second-grade classes beginning next year. The Board of Education on Monday night unanimously approved revised class size guidelines that lower the maximum number of students allowed in these classes.
Currently, the maximum number of students allowed in second- through fifth-grade classes at each elementary school is 25. The revised guidelines will reduce second-grade classes to no more than 22 students — the current standard for kindergarten and first-grade classes.
“We often group [grades] K, 1 and 2 together in so many ways and this in an equally important time to do that,” Westport parent Amy Saperstein said at the meeting in support of the change.
“At those younger ages, kids are really developing their fundamentals in all of the key categories, so that’s the time when I feel that the [student-teacher ratio] is so important so that the kids can get the attention they need," Saperstein added.
These revised guidelines will go into effect beginning next year.
Although second-grade classes will see a reduction, the current maximum in the middle schools and the high school are only being codified.
Currently, 110 is the maximum number of students assigned to each sixth through eighth-grade team at the middle schools.
At Staples High School, administrators strive to adhere to a maximum of 25 students per class, but that is not always possible, according to Superintendent Elliott Landon.
“We schedule for a maximum of 25, although we do not limit classes to 25 if in fact we are unable to provide sufficient sections for reason of space [limitations] or teaching positions in order to accommodate all of the nuances of class sizes at the high school,” Landon said.
Board member Jennifer Tooker added that the reason the board has not yet had a “robust conversation” on high school class sizes is because “we're physically constrained with the building.”
Staples, Landon said, was built to accommodate 1,800 students. Next year, an estimated 1,900 students will attend the high school. To address this issue, Landon said non-instructional spaces at Staples will need to be re-purposed into classrooms.