Wednesday, February 24, 2021

More teachers hired in order to decrease class sizes

More teachers have been hired by the Lambton-Kent District School Board and the St. Clair Catholic District School Board, in order to reduce class sizes across both boards.

John Howitt, the director of education for the public board, and Deb Crawford, director of education for the Catholic board, spoke to the media during a combined press conference with Municipality of Chatham-Kent on Thursday morning.

Howitt said there “is some confusion” about staffing in schools, as they prepare to head back to class, starting next week.

“We have about 1,000 secondary students who have chosen the virtual school and about 2,000 elementary students… about 14% to 15% of our total student body,” Howitt said.

“Our overall average (full day kindergarten) have decreased from 24.8 system-wide to 20. Our Grade 1 to 3 class size averages have gone from 18.57 to 18 and our Grade 4 to 8 class sizes have gone from 24.65 to 22 students on a board-wide average.”

Howitt said there will be the odd class that will be a little bit larger.

“That’s the way averages work, but we’ve added approximately 25 teaching staff into the face-to-face learning to bring those class sizes down in the face-to-face realm. The class sizes have not increased in face-to-face.”

Crawford echoed Howitt’s words, adding that the Catholic board has taken a similar approach and is seeing similar numbers across their board.

“In a similar way, we have reduced our average class sizes for primary for JK/SK around 21 average, our primary classes are around 18 and our junior/intermediate, Grades 4 to 8, are around 22,” Crawford said.

“We’re looking at secondary classrooms to be around 20.”

She said the SCCDSB has roughly 12% of their elementary students and about 13% of their secondary students opting for the online model.

“As a board we’ve hired an additional 22 teachers, so we’re able to keep our class sizes down in the face-to-face model and provide instructors for the virtual model,” Crawford said.

“To support those virtual classrooms, we’ve added some ECE’s, early childhood educators, we’ve added program resource teachers and educational assistants and we’ll be running our french immersions classrooms in the virtual as well as the face-to-face model.”

Crawford added they’ve “tried very hard” not to disrupt their classrooms on a go forward basis.

“As the students maybe change and come back to the face-to-face model, their classrooms will be there,” she said.

The LKDSB’s full back-to-school plan can be read, here.

The SCCDSB’s full back-to-school plan can be read, here.

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