Friday, November 25, 2005
"Bubble" classes drive middle school shuffle
"We are hashing out models" for next year's sixth- and seventh-grade teams, said Carlisle School Principal Stephen Goodwin at the November 16 School Committee meeting.
"What is the nature of the issue?" asked School Committee member Christy Barbee. Goodwin explained the incoming classes for sixth- and seventh-grade are "bubble" classes, with over 105 students each, which is larger than middle school classes have usually been in the past. In comparison, the present seventh-grade class has 91 and the eighth-grade has 100 students.
Until last year, the middle school grades were all using a team of four-teachers, each specializing in one of the fields of English, math, science or social studies. This approach was continued this year for the seventh- and eighth-grades, but the sixth-grade teaching team was increased to six to improve the teacher-to-student ratio. Sixth-grade has two sets of three teachers: one each for math, science and English, with social studies shared among the teachers.
One option for next year, Goodwin explained, is to have the larger grades taught by teams of five teachers. The total amount of staff would remain the same, decreasing the sixth-grade team and increasing the seventh-grade team by one teacher. Reached later by phone, Goodwin said the task force met with the sixth- and seventh-grade faculty on Friday. Although the meeting went well, he said, a final decision was not made on the structure for next year. He said another meeting with the whole faculty is planned in a week. He is targeting the beginning of December for completion of the middle school model.
Fitzgerald asked how the middle school model would affect the budget. Carlisle School Business Manager responded that the cost, approximately $10,000, would mainly be materials due to the increase in students in seventh grade.
© 2005 The