Class Size

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How many kids in your K class? Mine has 32!

August 2012

Hi all, My oldest just started kindergarten in Richmond heights and her class has 32 kids on the roster. Her teacher seems disorganized, unprepared, and simply too overwhelmed to be effective. We are willing to move to a better district, but we want to be sure it is markedly better. I know that the situation is tough in all the schools, so I was hoping some parents could tell me whether Lamorinda schools are still keeping to 20 kids per class. Castro Valley seems like another option (more house for your $), but what is the current class size there? Thanks, I've got 32, how many in yours?

Our daughter attended Kindergarten in an Orinda school last year and I can confirm all of the K classes had no more than 20. That is due to the generosity of donors to the Orinda Educational Foundation and the school's parent's club - there is an expectation that all families donate in order to keep class sizes small in K-3 (as well as provide art, music, PE, and computer technology). Paying more but worth it

high 20's. OUSD school. anon

32 is a terrifying # for kindergarten! I feel for you. We just had our kindergarten orientation at Sequoia Elementary in Oakland and we will have 22 or 23 in our class (which surprised me, as I expected at least 26). new Sequoia mom

We are also in school in Richmond Heights and can sympathize with your concerns. But, you should also consider that we are only one week in to the school year. The first few weeks are always chaotic , and your child's teacher may just need to settle into the routine. Also, you said there were 32 kids on the roster, but did 32 actually show up? Our experience is that the final class size was 6-7 kids smaller than the roster after the first few weeks.

If you have other reasons for wanting to move, by all means find a house in a good district. But if K class size is the only reason you are considering a move, that seems reactionary. Each year, our child's class size has fluctuated (from 28 on the high end to 18 on the low end) depending on enrollment. If you have the time, you should offer to volunteer in your child's class to help. Get involved with the school and see if you can find ways to improve your community school rather than abandon it. If you are at the school I think you are, there is a small but active PTA that can really use your help.

My final comment is not just directed at you, but at everyone reading this. If you are unhappy about class sizes, or lack of programs at your public school, I would ask you if you voted in the last election. If you support public education, please do so with your vote and your money and your time (by volunteering), not just with your words. -Public School Champion

We're in Moraga and the class size for kindergarten at our elementary (Camino Pablo) is 20. I was told that is a ''soft'' cap to allow for kids that may come in mid-year or some other unforeseen addition. Even so, it would only go up by a few spots. The kindergarten classes are taught by a teacher and an aid. Moraga mama

Yes, Moraga still tries to keep to the 20 kids maximum. I checked last year's school directory (2011-2012 school year) and for the 3 elementary schools in Moraga, Los Perales had 3 kindergarten classes with 16 kids in each class, Camino Pablo had 3 K classes with 18, 18, and 19 kids, and Rheem had 3 K classes with 20 kids in each. I would think Orinda and Lafayette are the same. With all the funding challenges the schools have been experiencing, our school districts do ask the parents to contribute significantly to make up the funding shortfall. This year, they are asking the parents of each elementary age child to contribute $1200. So in that respect, they are able to make up for the shortage of funds they are getting from the state in a way that many other districts unfortunately can't. On the other hand, there was a parcel tax measure on the ballot earlier this year to raise additional funds for the school that we were not able to get passed - we needed a 2/3 majority, but could only get almost 65%. Hope this information helps! Moraga Family

My son is in Kindergarten in Lafayette. There are 22 in his class. There are six kindergarten classes. The teacher has been there for awhile and is organized (my daughter had her a few years ago). She also has the benefit of aide hours, an afternoon kindergarten teacher (he's in morning - a morning and afternoon teacher partner to help each other) and a large pool of volunteer parents. It's not perfect, but we feel very lucky to have our children in schools here. Parents donate a lot of time and money and it does make a difference. Lafayette momma

Our daughter just started at Manzanita SEED. I think they over-enrolled and expected a lot more kids to not show up to register. They were up near 30 as the demand for the school has skyrocketed this year. They managed to open a fourth kindergarten class and now she has 22. Happily surprised at this hidden gem with lower than average class sizes. NikNik

Kindergarten class with 27 kids!

September 2005

At the first day of Kindergarten, I was shocked to learn that there are 27 students in my child's class (Montclair Elementary). I was under the impression that there was a state- mandated cap on class size in the first few grades--I thought it was 15. Was I totally wrong, or was the cap done away with recently? I'm concerned, and wondering about how this compares to private schools. I guess private schools vary widely in class size, but is there any kind of average? Are most of them smaller for this age group? Are you private-school folk horrified at the idea of 27 Kindergarten! ers, or is it about the same for you? I'm second guessing my decision to give this school a try--I had heard it was good, but this seems crazy... very worried

We're in the same boat as you are. Our kids must be in the same class. We were pretty shocked, too, to say the least, especially since the other 2 K classes have 20 kids each. It's our understanding that the Class Size Reduction program, which was started in 1998, gives incentive bonus money if K-3 classes hit the magic number of 20. Go over that and you don't get the money. We were told that every year the principal designates an ''overflow'' class. It's the PM class this year. It's a bummer and a disappointment. I wish we had had a head's up about this BEFORE the first day of school. I think if it had been communicated to us and not sprung on us, we would've felt a bit better about the situation. For us, it's been a pretty odd first week of Kindergarten. On a high note, I don't know about your child, but ours has expressed happiness and excitement about being a kindergartner and about what she's learned the first week. We have friends starting at St. Paul's this year and their K classes are 18 students each with 2 full time teachers in the classroom. hoping for the best...

Yikes ! 27 sounds like an awful lot. Is there more than 1 teacher in the classroom ? Maybe that makes up for the difference. We have our Kindergartener enrolled at a private school with 15 kids in the classroom. Some parents were disappointed that the number of students was so large ! But, we are paying lots of $$$ .... ask around at the school and maybe the kids will be put in smaller groups, etc. to help accomodate the large class size. Also, a lot of kids means that your child will have lots of different social interactions and that could be a really good thing. - anon

There is no state-mandated maximum class size, but there ARE state finacnial incentives for keeping average class size at or below 20 (never 15) in K-3rd grade. However, there are several reasons not all schools participate: the ''incentives'' generally won't cover all of the added coast of the smaller classes; any subsidized class size reduction must be done first in the first grade, and only then can K or 2nd be included, so some districts participate only at grades 1, or 1 and 2; there isn't always enough space, especially if your school provides full-day kindergarten (some schools reduce K class size, but have only half-day K, so two classes fit into the space of one. I'm not sure if districts can selectively provide smaller classes in some schools and not others, or if they have to do ALL district schools the same way at the same time. You might check with the principal, and parents of kids in grades 1 and 2 to see if there is class-size reduction in place at any grade level. R.K.

You didn't say how many teachers are in the room. Often in California, they get around the class size mandate by putting two teachers in a room, because they just don't have the room space to do 15 - 20 kids per class. I can't comment on how this works for kids, since I don't have any in the schools system yet. Laura_kate

There is a class size of 27 at Crocker too this year. The class size in public is usually limited to 20, not 15. I was just told by a teacher that public schools are required to limit class size to 20 for 1-3rd grade and doesn't include Kindergarten because K isn't required by law for a child to attend. Didn't know that. They do try to limit K to 20 anyway and I think they get funding incentives to do so, but they don't have to. I don't have a personal opinion yet because mine just started, and his class has 22. fellow K mom

SF Class size for Kindergarten is capped at 20 kids per class. My children go to public school and I love that this is their maximum size class up until 4th grade. I did notice that the private schools I toured did not have any size limitations, and therefore many ranged in the 25 - 30 per classroom size. But another thing to note, is that even if the class is that large, you need to consider if there are any student teachers or other assistants available too. This always helps. Good luck. Been there

My son's private kindergarten has 20 students and 2 teachers. When I looked at kindergartens last year 15-20 students seemed the norm. The K-3 cap (of 20 students) feel victim to the budget crisis in many districts although there are many districts that have approved a special tax to keep class size low. I certainly agree with you 27 students (with one teacher) is WAY too many. Mom of a kindergartener