Uphold Excellent Saratoga Schools! - Say NO to large class sizes.
We, the parents, voters, well-wishers of the Saratoga community are very vested in the quality of our public school education. So, we:
- Want parents to be involved early in the process of deciding any such fundamental changes that impact the children's quality of education.
- Expect alternative solutions to be considered first, prior to any decision on cutting the number of classes and increasing class sizes.
- Oppose any plans to arbitrarily reduce the number of classes per grade.
[Please ignore the Donation request. It is not part of our petition]
Thus far, Saratoga schools have distinguished themselves with their unique focus on grooming well-rounded children, whether in academics, communication, music, or sports. Clearly, a key reason for this has been the good student to teacher ratios in most classes. The Saratoga school community wants the Saratoga Union School District (SUSD) to be a nationwide beacon for better student to teacher ratios. Families move from other districts to Saratoga for its good schools and smaller class sizes.
What’s happening right now?
However, at the moment, there are a number of decisions being made across the Saratoga School System (especially K-8) that has put all of this in jeopardy. There are specific plans to cut the number of classes per grade thereby increasing the number of students per class.
This decision is especially (but not limited to) important in elementary and middle schools where the children are still so young and impressionable, maintaining smaller class sizes is fundamental to the kids' development.
Considerations are also being made by SUSD to cut classes throughout K-8. At Argonaut Elementary, 3rd grade parents are facing the worrying prospect of a class cut next year which will mean three classes being reduced to two. 57 kids (of just 9/10 year olds!) from three classes would be forced into two classes of size 28 instead of three classes of size 19 each.
Social-emotional Impact of Class Size on students and teachers
While it is understandable that financial planning is important to the functioning of a school district, a class size has the most direct impact on the quality of education. Research has clearly shown overwhelmingly that both parents and teachers want smaller class sizes. Florida class size requirements, for example, are no more than 18 students in grades K-3, 22 students in grades 4-8, and 25 students in grades 9-12.
While the district's guidelines (e.g. 28 students per class for 4-5 grades) is a guideline on paper, the reality is that Saratoga schools have always been about more than just being a "minimum bar" district. To groom happy, productive future citizenry, it is very important that sizes factor in emotional, behavioral and social needs. These guidelines also do not take into account the stress for teachers who want to spend more time individually with students to provide individualized support, be it academic or social-emotional.
In fact, SUSD teachers have publicly expressed their concerns about stress and burnout related to teaching larger class sizes - https://saratoga.agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=143&MeetingID=18527&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=True. If middle school teachers are having problems with class sizes, how much more difficult is it for elementary school teachers?
The SUSD has formed a committee for social and emotional learning for our children. Yet, this decision to eliminate class sizes is a direct contradiction of this stated SUSD goal!
Smaller class sizes where teachers can better focus on the needs of our children as individuals directly impacts and feeds into healthier academic, social and emotional learning. Again, we expect the district officials to think of alternative solutions to be considered first before taking the decision of cutting the number of classes.
Please sign the petition if you are in support of smaller class sizes in Saratoga schools.
Uphold Excellent Saratoga Schools! - Say NO to large class sizes!
More background information about this cause can be found here: