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Pleasanton school board approves smaller classes for first-graders

Original post made on May 16, 2013

The Pleasanton school board has approved class size reductions for first-graders.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, 7:17 AM

Comments (8)

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Posted by Jill
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on May 16, 2013 at 8:30 am

I really dislike how this was handled. Why first grade in particular? Did anyone ask the teachers which grade would be best to target to reduce class sizes? Or whether the teachers actually prefer 25:1 vs 30:1 with staggered instruction? It feels like PPIE abstractly decided it wanted something, with no input from the actual educators, and then the district felt it had to take it. I'd rather have seen the district weigh in more explicitly on funding priorities.

And yes, this will affect whether and how much I donate to PPIE again next year.

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Posted by Jeff Durban
a resident of Del Prado
on May 16, 2013 at 8:50 am

@Jill - Yes, careful consideration was given as to how best to apply Class Size Reduction (CSR). As you can imagine, the issue is very complex, but PPIE and the School Board spent considerable time researching the issue diving into a multitude of studies exploring CSR and which grades benefit most from the smaller student teacher ratio. The takeaway from the research indicated 1st graders benefited the most from CSR due to that timeframe being a critical point in a student's reading, writing, and math development requiring more attention from parents and teachers.

To your second point, many Pleasanton educators are part of and participated in the PPIE and School Board decision to apply CSR to 1st grade for the 2013-2014 school year.

Please understand, this is just the first step for CSR in Pleasanton with the ultimate goal of applying CSR to at a minimum K-3 by the 2014-2015 school year. Governor Brown is a big proponent of CSR and has made it a budget priority in the next few years. PPIE and the School Board are committed to restoring CSR to all elementary grades in the near future.

Thank you for your feedback and continued support of our children and Pleasanton schools.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Birdland
on May 16, 2013 at 11:30 am

@Jill - 1st grade was selected for CSR because according to the CA Education Code, school districts must first reduce class sizes in 1st grade (then 2nd grade and then 3rd grade or K) to receive CSR funds from the state.

The following text is from the California Department of Education's website (Web Link):

"Education Code Section 52124(b) establishes the order in which the grade levels at a school site must be reduced when implementing the CSR program. If only one grade level is being reduced at a school site, it must be first grade. If only two grade levels are being reduced, they must be first and second grades. The 'first priority' grades are first and second grades, while the 'second priority' grades are third and kindergarten."

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Posted by PleasantonParent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 17, 2013 at 6:42 am

The info on why 1st grade was chosen is interesting. Next time something like this comes up, communicate that WHILE you are pushing for the change so people understand and you meet less resistance! Nice job! Happy for incoming 1st graders and their teachers.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 17, 2013 at 9:30 pm


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Posted by Holly Sanders
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on May 18, 2013 at 10:15 am

Great work by the committee, parents, teachers, and all others involved! There were many meetings and much thought put into determining the priorities and making it happen. Thank you!!

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Posted by Good Luck
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 18, 2013 at 10:22 am

I applaud PPIE's efforts in fundraising, however, I am concered with the fact that every dime left went towards CSR in 1st grade which only touches a small percentage of the community. Many people donated to PPIE and participated in the PPIE run thinking that those funds would go towrads the 2014/15 school year only to find out that all that money went to fund CSR for this year and now PPIE is back to having no funds for 2014/15 school year. Not sure that was the smartest decision. Will be interesting to see if people will continue to support PPIE's efforts given it seems its primary focus has and always will be CSR.

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Posted by Kelly French
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 18, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I'm proud to announce the Pleasanton Run for Education raised $58,000 for our schools. The proceeds from the run have been allocated to the elementary, middle and high school levels for the 2013-14 school year. Originally PPIE discussed using the proceeds from the run for the 2014-15 Giving Fund, but given the uncertainty of the May revise and the high probability that the local control funding formula is going to be implemented, the PPIE board voted to allocate the funds to the 2013-14 Giving Fund.

To clarify, about half of PPIE's fundraising at the elementary level will be spent on technology specialists and literacy while the other half will be spent on reducing class ratios to 25:1 in our first grade classrooms throughout the district. As mentioned above, first grade was selected for CSR because according to the CA Education Code, school districts must first reduce class sizes in 1st grade (then 2nd grade and then 3rd grade or K) to receive CSR funds from the state. We also discussed the possibility of reducing more grade levels to 29:1 or 28:1 rather than 25:1 in just first grade, but this does not make any financial sense due to the restraints of categorical flexibility mandates.

The funds raised by PPIE for the middle schools will be spent on technology, counseling or additional class sections. The middle schools will receive $71K distributed to each school on a per pupil basis. The money raised by PPIE for the high schools will be spent on technology, counseling, additional class sections or campus supervision. The high schools will receive $77K distributed to each school on a per pupil basis.

PPIE actually has much broader interests regarding funding goals, but unfortunately our Giving Fund participation rate was only 11% this year. Surrounding communities boast a 50 - 80% participation rate in education foundation giving. With greater district wide participation, we'd be able to touch more areas and make a larger impact. If you are passionate about education in Pleasanton, please consider becoming a part of PPIE's Education Foundation Committee. We are currently seeking school site reps from each school site. If you are interested, please notify your school principal.

PPIE appreciates the generosity of our donors and supporters who are collectively making a difference in all of our Pleasanton schools!

Kelly French
PPIE Executive Board VP
Education Foundation Committee school site rep for Alisal
Pleasanton Run for Education chair
mom to two Alisal students (a 2nd grader and a 5th grader)

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