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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the community of Ogdensburg, New York
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Parents want another classroom at Theresa Primary


PHILADELPHIA — Dozens of parents want another third grade class added to Theresa Primary.

Parents showed up at Indian River Central School District’s Board of Education meeting last week to ask for smaller third-grade classes, expressing hope it will raise Common Core assessment scores.

“There are quite a few parents who are concerned,” Christina K. Hicks said. “It’s not just a classroom size issue or an overcrowding issue. Those are combined with the fact they are implementing the Common Core requirements that is such a strain on both the teachers and the students.”

In addition to her stressing her case at the meeting, she handed board members a petition that more than 50 community members and parents have signed.

“To achieve our desired outcome, we are requesting that you look very closely at the number of children who were divided among three (second) grade classrooms last year who will now be squeezed into only two (third) grade classrooms this upcoming school year,” the letter said.

Mrs. Hicks has two daughters, rising third-grader Natalie M. and rising second-grader Ingrid K., and said she speaks out of concern for her children.

Mrs. Hicks said kindergarten, first and second grades all have three classrooms. The second-grade classes funnel into two third-grade classes, however.

“Research has shown that academic achievement usually happens in classes with 20 students or less,” she said.

Assistant Superintendent Mary Anne Dobmeier said that on June 18, the three second-grade classrooms had 19, 18 and 18 students. The two third-grade classes had 27 and 24 students.

The cap for classroom sizes is 30 students, but “the board does not usually wait until 30,” she said.

She also said the administration had approached the Board of Education last school year to add a third-grade classroom to Theresa Primary, but the request was rejected.

“It was prior to a vacation period,” Mrs. Dobmeier said. “They were thinking with the vacation, there was a propensity for families to leave.”

A classroom addition at the school was approved in the 2013-14 budget, but the grade was not specified.

However, Mrs. Hicks and several other parents who came to Thursday’s meeting were not told this. She said the board wanted to give her a written response on its thoughts. She plans to attend the next meeting, but said she harbors no bad feelings if a classroom cannot be added.

“I really love the school,” she said. “I feel at this point, (my daughters) have gotten a great education. I don’t want to be unrealistic, too. If there’s not enough room in the budget, then you might do more harm than good.”

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