Understandably you might be feeling confused and frustrated by Dr. Estrada’s announcement of class restructuring here at Olympic Hills. Although smaller class sizes for K-3 and a 17:1 ratio for those grades is a great thing for our school to be able to meet, it seems to be coming at the expense of our 4th and especially 5th graders. We are fortunate we are not losing a staff member, but the flex in situation for Ms. Doss and her students is definitely disruptive and challenging to the entire school community.
Letter from our Principal, Dr. Estrada, to the OHE community dated October 4th.
Dear Olympic Hills families and caregivers:
I have some challenging news. We have been asked to work to problem-solve a state-law based K-3 Class size reduction grant issue that came to light recently. The good news is: We will not be losing a teacher. The challenging news: although we are keeping our teachers, and although our K-3 class sizes are already at an acceptable size according to central office ratios, the district is requiring us (and around 40 other schools) to reconfigure classes, because the ratios important to the state are not school by school, but measured district-wide. This is what I have learned:
- The expectation is that we shift around 0.75 of a full-time teaching position from 4th and 5th grade into K-3.
- This is a mandate from the state. As such, we had to work to reconfigure some of our classrooms.
In a few short words, this impacted 40 schools. We were not singled out. The district is in a budget deficit. They applied for a (K-3)3.5-million-dollar state grant. For our district to be awarded the grant, we needed a 0.75 certificated teacher in K-3. The (0.25) can be used in the upper grades. We submitted numerous proposals, spoke to many district level personnel working on this configuration, and met with some grade level teams. The configuration that was accepted was to create two 5th grade classes and move one fifth grade teacher to K-3 (0.75) and use the (0.25) for 5th grade. The fifth-grade team will departmentalize.
There were no easy solutions. The three fifth grade classes will become two fifth grade classes with Mr. Schaedig and Mr. Deisler as primary homeroom teachers. They will be supported by Ms. Doss for Literacy, Ms. Katy Pence for Math, and Mr. Hernan for Writing. They will continue to be supported by our SPED team. This will start on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.
Ms. Doss will become the K-3 grade specialist. (0.75) Ms. Doss will start her day out with her current class of students and work on community circle. She will then support K-3 for the rest of the morning. She will end her day with her current class of students to fulfill her 0.25 with the Literacy. The fifth grade will become departmentalized with our Math teacher, Ms. Katy supporting twenty 5th grade students. Mr. Hernan, Multi-Lingual teacher, will support a group of 21 students for writing. Students will receive instruction in groups of 21 or less.
More details will be coming later in the week. This is challenging news to all our learning community. Please reach out to your child’s teacher or me if you have questions.
This is coming from higher up in the district than our Principal Dr. Estrada and is above something she personally has control over.
Should you wish to voice your concerns – some suggested contacts are:
Representative Gerry Pollet
Senator Javier Valdez
Representative Darya Farivar