Thursday, February 24, 2005

Weast says he's committed to reducing class size

County school Superintendent Jerry Weast says he's committed to reducing class size in public schools, but he doesn't try to justify his plan to demolish an uncrowded elementary school and build a "replacement" that's three times the size and on a smaller piece of land.

Citing parental requests, the school system says it's going to make classes smaller to give kids more attention. "We have heard a lot from the community about the need for individualized instruction, particularly in elementary school, with the more rigorous and defined curriculum," school system budget director Marshall C. Spatz told the Montgomery County Sentinel.

"We know that smaller classes give teachers more time with each student. More time with each student means more time to reach each student," Superintendent Weast said. "Helping out students grow and progress in elementary school with smaller classes leads to academic success later on when our students take rigorous courses in high school."

"Our efforts to reduce class size will give teachers more time to teach and students more one-on-one time with their teachers," said Board of Education President Patricia B. O'Neill.

Parents of kids at the all-but-condemned Seven Locks Elementary School welcome the idea but are wondering how the county can justify closing their children's uncrowded 258-student school and building a "replacement" three times the size on a smaller piece of land.