GVSD School Board Commitment to Quality Elementary School Education Through Responsible Class Size

Dear Great Valley Board of School Directors: As you vote on June 7th to adopt a final school budget for the 2010-2011 school year, we, the parents and concerned citizens of the Great Valley School District, ask you to abide by the current class size guidelines (*see class size guidelines below). The School Board has worked hard to propose a fiscally responsible budget that ensures a quality education for our students. However, current enrollment numbers indicate that several classes will exceed the class size guidelines, or are at risk of exceeding the guidelines if enrollment numbers increase at all over the summer and throughout the school year. This increase in student-to-teacher ratios will negatively impact the quality of education our students receive. Many studies have found that elementary students in smaller class sizes have better academic and behavioral outcomes than those in larger classes. (**Eight (8) of those studies, and excerpts from 2, are sited below.) We ask our Board members to commit to full support of the class size guidelines. This means that the board will review enrollment numbers and allocate the appropriate number of classrooms, according to class size guidelines, to every elementary grade level in GVSD elementary schools. Additionally, we ask that contingencies be put in place in the event that student enrollment increases between your vote and the beginning of the new school year. Our elected School Board members are charged with ensuring quality education while maintaining fiscal responsibility. We ask that the School Board support our students and teachers, and assure that our students will receive a quality education by committing to responsible class sizes for the 2010 – 2011 school year. Sincerely, Parents for quality education through responsible class size ______________________________________ * Class size guidelines for Great Valley elementary schools: • Kindergarten & 1st grade: 18 – 22 students • 2nd & 3rd grades: 20 – 24 students • 4th & 5th grades: 22 – 26 students ** One 4-year study in Tennessee (Project STAR, 1985 - 1989) found that students in smaller classes substantially outperformed students in larger classes on both standardized and curriculum-based tests. Another study in North Carolina (Burke County, North Carolina, 1990 – 1996) found that compared to a matched group of students in classes that had not been phased into the smaller class initiative, students in the smaller classes outperformed the comparison group in first, second, and third grades on both reading and mathematics achievement tests. Other studies: Ferguson (1991); Greenwald, Hedges & Laine (1996); Hanushek (1996); Wenglinsky (1997); Achilles, Nye, Zaharias, Fulton & Cain (1996); Mosteller (1995); Finn (1998); Nye, DeWayne Fulton, Boyd-Zaharias & Cain (1995).

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