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Author Topic: Corbett Grade School Blended Classes Discussion  (Read 12689 times)
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« on: May 20, 2009, 05:16:47 PM »

Please use this board to discuss the move to blend classes ( Kindergarten through third grade and fourth through sixth grade )
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2009, 11:46:41 AM »

Blended classes K-3 and 4-6 will be a reality next year at the Grade School. At the last board meeting Mr. Dunton also said that if he were King he would have it K-6.

My first question is, if this is what was going to happen, why weren't the parents notified before the last week of school?
 This decision was made months before. Even if there were no other options available but to do this it could have been explained earlier to parents.

What is the flip side of the benefits of blending grade levels together? Last year our 2nd grader had lunch with friends in the same age group. This year 3rd graders were split up from each other, and lunches were shared with 6th graders. ( All decided at year end the year before and implemented without notifying parents ). Many children simply do not do well with this transition. Many parents are still upset at the lack of communication as to what happened and why a year ago. The age difference has set up a pecking order for many children and although there are benefits to allowing older children to be leaders, there is also the reality that some will not set the good example for others to follow. This causes more work/stress for our teachers too.

What happens to the quality of education for the kids in our grade school?
While there were many middle/high school teachers willing to show support of blended classes in the Charter School - there were no grade school testimonials at the board meeting. Teaching two grade levels and managing a classroom is only going to get harder on our teaching staff when they have to manage effectively teaching THREE grade levels and juggling the age difference in social justice areas.

Lack of open communication from the school - tends to just make people nervous and suspicious. That is just a fact. The changes could be the best thing ever. They could. But they most certainly would be more successful if parents felt they had all the information and a chance to be heard before moving forward.

We love our school. We love our teachers. We support them at every turn... We would never want to deny a child the chance to attend such a great school. We just hope they can clone Deputy Graziano http://corbettoregon.com/deputy_joe.htm somehow and slow down some of the lead feet.



 
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East wind
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2009, 01:45:13 PM »

Is this a done deal? Why haven't parents been informed? This seems crazy.
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MultiAgeMomma
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2009, 01:01:46 PM »

My children have attended Corbett schools for the past 7 years and it has been a multi-age structure and 4-day school week since we have been enrolled. 

I feel it is a very successful teaching environment for all students no matter what their level of learning or learning style is.  The children have a little longer school day, which provides more time with their teachers.  The multi-age environment gives the teachers 2 years with their students allowing an opportunity for the teachers to really be able to get to 'know' their students.   I get the impression that some of you with concerns have not yet experienced this teaching environment, because your children may be pre-school age or under - I would encourage you to 'don't knock it, til you've tried it'.  Many of the teachers have student teachers and parents are always encouraged to volunteer and do.  They also have high school students who help out in class throughout the day - so the teachers have a lot of assistance on a daily basis available to them.  There is plenty of interaction with the children and learning is made fun.

I have not seen or heard of any bullying issues.  To blame it on 'multi-age' classrooms is wrong.  It can happen in single grade classrooms as well.  If you have a problem or feel your child is a victim of bullying why are you not bringing it to the teacher or principals attention?   

Concerns about blending age groups..  You are talking about a handful at each age, in each classroom.  Unless your child is an 'only child', how do you deal with this in your own home?  Do you separate your older children from the younger, so they won't influence one another?  I don't see an issue socially or otherwise in Corbett's teaching environment.  The teachers are experienced in multi-age and the grade school classes this year were paired up with an older class (4-6 grade) to better form unity in the school among the students in all age groups (they call themselves families - the older students help the younger kids, in a small group).  My kids have been on both ends of the multi-age structure (younger and older).

As for the 4-day school week.  Its awesome!  Our Corbett students probably attend 'more' school than Portland Public schools..  Inservice days and teacher work days are all scheduled on Fridays, when the students are off.   Four day school weeks go quickly, and who doesn't love a 3-day weekend, every week.   I hear concerns about it being a burden on working parents to have to find someone to watch their schoolage kids one day a week.. what do you do during the summer?

Newsweek voted Corbett in the Top 10 best schools in the country recently.   Multi-age?  4-day school week?  Hummm..IT WORKS!   
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wannaknowmore
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2009, 01:31:04 PM »

My children have attended Corbett schools for the past 7 years and it has been a multi-age structure and 4-day school week since we have been enrolled. 

I feel it is a very successful teaching environment for all students no matter what their level of learning or learning style is.  The children have a little longer school day, which provides more time with their teachers.  The multi-age environment gives the teachers 2 years with their students allowing an opportunity for the teachers to really be able to get to 'know' their students.   I get the impression that some of you with concerns have not yet experienced this teaching environment, because your children may be pre-school age or under - I would encourage you to 'don't knock it, til you've tried it'.  Many of the teachers have student teachers and parents are always encouraged to volunteer and do.  They also have high school students who help out in class throughout the day - so the teachers have a lot of assistance on a daily basis available to them.  There is plenty of interaction with the children and learning is made fun.

I have not seen or heard of any bullying issues.  To blame it on 'multi-age' classrooms is wrong.  It can happen in single grade classrooms as well.  If you have a problem or feel your child is a victim of bullying why are you not bringing it to the teacher or principals attention?   

Concerns about blending age groups..  You are talking about a handful at each age, in each classroom.  Unless your child is an 'only child', how do you deal with this in your own home?  Do you separate your older children from the younger, so they won't influence one another?  I don't see an issue socially or otherwise in Corbett's teaching environment.  The teachers are experienced in multi-age and the grade school classes this year were paired up with an older class (4-6 grade) to better form unity in the school among the students in all age groups (they call themselves families - the older students help the younger kids, in a small group).  My kids have been on both ends of the multi-age structure (younger and older).

As for the 4-day school week.  Its awesome!  Our Corbett students probably attend 'more' school than Portland Public schools..  Inservice days and teacher work days are all scheduled on Fridays, when the students are off.   Four day school weeks go quickly, and who doesn't love a 3-day weekend, every week.   I hear concerns about it being a burden on working parents to have to find someone to watch their schoolage kids one day a week.. what do you do during the summer?

Newsweek voted Corbett in the Top 10 best schools in the country recently.   Multi-age?  4-day school week?  Hummm..IT WORKS!   


Thanks for posting your opinions. We all have kids. We are all advocating for our kids and concerns. Let's be clear that concerns and questions should not be seen as "detractors"... or those that are just trying to cause problems.

Corbett has been multi-age for years. Yes. We have two children in the grade school. The difference in having multi-age classrooms of two grade levels to the change of having K-3 and 4-6 classrooms is quite a difference for many children. And one of the most important things to note here, and one of our main concerns as community members and parents in the Corbett school district, is that most parents were not even made aware of this change - until the last week of school by a letter.

Corbett schools has been 4 days a week. Yes. 4 days a week is not an issue for our family now, but I can understand new working parents or new to Corbett without a network of established friends or family ... that this is not the norm and can cause some problems or stress. I don't think it is fair to find fault with those that have these challenges. I think that would be very hard for some people. So I understand that frustration.

Bullying. I am really glad that you & your children have not had issues with bullying. No one wants that - trust me. But this does exist for some students. We have had to address these issues and have handled them appropriately at every turn with both teachers and administration.This is not so much an issue in the classroom as it is with breaks and lunch where it is more than a "handful" of older kids. I can assure you, that there are issues. Physical and verbal bullying.

Newsweek. I think it is great. ( That top ten is amazing for our HIGH SCHOOL ...and most highschools are blended but there is a maturity difference vs. K-3 & 4-6, yes? ) We all know that our schools would not be nearly the success they are without our staff, parents and teachers... We all work together to create the result. Our grade school teachers are going to be overly taxed with properly preparing three grade levels in one classroom. We have family and friends that are educators. ( There are teachers that are not happy with these changes.... They don't feel safe talking openly. ) This is not a good sign. That is a fact.

Charter School - the only future in Corbett? How can we both have the top ten school in the nation AND be broke? We are being told that our public schools in Corbett - will not survive financially, are not capable of surviving, without the out of district funds and kids from the Charter school. What is wrong with that picture? What does that mean? The public school in Corbett is following not only the blended class structure of the Charter school but also the curriculum ....Our teachers are losing their union representation in Corbett Charter ... and we may be losing a public school in Corbett Oregon. That is something our community needs to sit up and notice.

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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2009, 01:46:06 PM »

Is this a done deal? Why haven't parents been informed? This seems crazy.

Announced via letter sent home with students the last week of school.
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MultiAgeMomma
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2009, 07:35:22 PM »

we as a community are not being given the whole story on the future ( or lack thereof ) in a public school in Corbett Oregon. That is something our community needs to sit up and notice.



Do you know of any school districts that provide info to their communities in the manner in which you expect?   I believe people should be proactive in being in the know in their community.  Attend school district and school board meetings and/or check the school/district website regularly.   I don't believe the other neighboring school districts email or send out newsletters to their community (with or without school age children) -- unless someone is running for a board seat.  Just interested in what your expectations are in wanting more communication.

I thought the meetings held regarding the Charter school were very informative and a good opportunity for the community and transfer families to ask questions.   After a lottery was held for families choosing to be accepted to the Charter school an enrollment meeting was scheduled for three consecutive nights.  I don't think it was a closed meeting.  It was set aside for families to formerly enroll their children and for those on a waiting list to attend and hear about the curriculum and how the school would run.  Mr. Dunton was very well prepared and the Charter board/staff was very organized.

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MultiAgeMomma
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2009, 07:38:42 PM »

FYI.  I have children in all three buildings - grade, middle and high school.
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2009, 06:32:15 AM »

we as a community are not being given the whole story on the future ( or lack thereof ) in a public school in Corbett Oregon. That is something our community needs to sit up and notice.
Do you know of any school districts that provide info to their communities in the manner in which you expect?   I believe people should be proactive in being in the know in their community.  Attend school district and school board meetings and/or check the school/district website regularly.   I don't believe the other neighboring school districts email or send out newsletters to their community (with or without school age children) -- unless someone is running for a board seat.  Just interested in what your expectations are in wanting more communication.

I thought the meetings held regarding the Charter school were very informative and a good opportunity for the community and transfer families to ask questions.   After a lottery was held for families choosing to be accepted to the Charter school an enrollment meeting was scheduled for three consecutive nights.  I don't think it was a closed meeting.  It was set aside for families to formerly enroll their children and for those on a waiting list to attend and hear about the curriculum and how the school would run.  Mr. Dunton was very well prepared and the Charter board/staff was very organized.


Hi there,

Other districts ( like Gresham-Barlow ) do send out regular electronic newsletters and regular communications to parents about what is happening. The Web Academy Charter School, for example, has been shared from the beginning with District parents and with other districts.

There will always be differences in what people consider adequate 'information share' from our schools I think. I am sure this is a reflection of each person's experiences and everybody's opinion here should be respected. ( Even if there is a difference in perception. )

Ultimately, this board ( on this forum ) is for discussions about blending of classes though. So for more discussions about the Charter School...sharing info about the Charter School or even the future of Corbett Public... etc... can you please all post those to the Charter school discussion board everybody?

Thanks!
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2009, 07:02:34 AM »

Our family also has had kids at every level. But our family also does not feel the schools have done a very good job of involving parents in some of these decisions, especially at the grade school.... Blending classes: One of the reasons that there are so many less discipline cases... is because the younger kids just stay divided and away from the older kids at lunch/recesses. So the bigger kids get to do/play where they want on the playground and the youngest just stay out of their way. I help out at school and I can see that happening... it will only be worse with K-6 on the playground....

There are those that believe that if you don't agree with the way things are - you should just be quiet. That is also the impression Mr. Dunton has given us about this issue. What is so wrong with giving parents the reasons why you are doing these things - BEFORE you do them - so we have a chance to adjust. I could not believe the letter sent home the last week of school about this! This could have been talked about throughout the course of the year - to prepare us. It was was basically sprung on us.
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2009, 09:32:09 AM »

I am wondering if Mr. Trani and Mr. Dunton had to wait until the Charter School was formerly approved by the school district to determine how the numbers would play out in the grade school, with number of students in each class.  Removing transfer students from those classes does make for smaller classes among the district children.  Do you think that  is why they decided to add an additional grade to the 2 year multiage classrooms?

At the end of the year they hold a kindergarten round-up for incoming children in the fall.  For the other students they hold a moving up day where the kids learn who their teacher is for next year and get to visit that room.  Its held during the day.   It would be nice if instead they held this on an evening and had a parent meeting, where they could talk to parents about the upcoming year and answer questions.  It would be a good time to discuss the blending of classes and for parents to discuss concerns.

I wonder if the reason Mr. Trani put out the letter to parents was in an effort to have better communication so parents knew what the fall would bring.  Does anyone know if the multiage classroom change was tabled at a school board meeting?  Or was it just something the principal and superintendent just decided?

I appreciate hearing everyone's opinions on this forum it is very enlightening and helpful.
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