The One to Count On...

Mid-Prairie Seeks to Address Elementary Class Sizes

Posted: Friday, December 30th, 2016 at 6:28 am
Author: Joe Cerwinske

The three Mid-Prairie Elementary Schools; photos courtesy of the Mid-Prairie School District

Over the last year, the Mid-Prairie School District has enlisted the aid of an elementary study group to identify problems and possible solutions for the three elementary schools in the district. One problem identified is the inconsistency of class sizes. According to Superintendent Mark Schneider, the group looked at ways to equalize class sizes in the district. Currently Wellman Elementary has an average class size of around 22 students, Kalona Elementary averages 25 students, and Washington Township has approximately 17 students per class. For example, in 2nd grade, one class has 26 students, while another has 16. The board would like more uniform class sizes to help with another problem the group identified, which is making learning more personalized. Schneider admits there will be no easy fixes, but says the district is exploring solutions.

Currently in the Mid-Prairie district, any parent can send their child to any school in the district as there are no boundaries. Schneider says in the past that has worked, because parents have been good about moving their children to smaller classes. However, that system isn’t working. One of the solutions could be to institute boundaries, taking away the ability to chose an elementary school. A difficulty with that solution is that eventually the demographics within the boundaries may change, and the borders would have to be altered. Conversely, Schneider says another option could be to use attendance centers where all students in one grade go to one location. However, that could create problems with transportation and time. Schneider believes the board will spend a great deal of time discussing how to best address the class size issue in the coming months.