Southampton Hopes To Alleviate Parent Concerns About Kindergarten Class Sizes

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Southampton School District officials have promised to look into class sizes for the incoming kindergarten class at the elementary school after a group of parents expressed concerns at a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

At the meeting, about a dozen parents said they were told there would be one teacher per classroom in each of the five kindergarten classes in September, with roughly 15 students per class. However, as class lists have become available, some of the parents are noticing about 21 students in each room, raising concerns.

District Superintendent Dr. Scott Farina said he was unaware of the proposed class sizes at this time, and that the district will look into reducing the numbers by either adding a teaching assistant to classrooms with more than 18 students, or creating a sixth section of kindergarten if necessary.

“The spirit of our plan of having smaller class sizes without the teacher’s assistants will remain intact,” Dr. Farina said. “So if we have to add a teacher’s assistant or add a section because some of our sections have creeped up in numbers, we will absolutely do that.”

Dr. Farina added that although there are no state regulations regarding the number of kindergarten students per classroom, there are regulations for universal prekindergarten classes, which state that after 18 students, districts should add another adult to the classroom. Dr. Farina said the district intends to carry that regulation through to the kindergarten classes to the extent possible.

The district hopes to have class sizes and the number of classes straightened out in the next few weeks. At the meeting, Dr. Farina also noted that it is in a hiring frenzy right now, working to replace retirees and teachers who have left the district, in time for the start of school in September.

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