Class Count At East Elementary To Remain The Same

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There is simply no room to add more sections of classes at East Elementary.

In May parents of fourth-grade students (soon to be fifth-graders) at East addressed the Athens City School Board with concern over dropping from three sections per grade level down to two as the students enter fifth grade.

“Over the past three years, our 52 students have been divided into three manageable classrooms. In the past weeks, we have come to learn that for the coming year the plan is to only have two fifth-grade classrooms and that concerns us,” said East Elementary parent Josh Thomas at that meeting.

Supt. Carl Martin stated on Friday that there are approximately 50 students entering the fifth grade at East Elementary and that class will be handled with two teachers as the fifth grade has in the past.

At East Elementary there are three sections for each grade, kindergarten to fourth, and two sections each for fifth and sixth grade.

“We are out of space,” said Martin, noting that bringing in modular classrooms would be very costly and is not considered an option.

Martin stated that he recently sent an email to Thomas explaining the decision to keep the class divided among two sections for the upcoming year.

“Some years the classes are small and some years they are big. We try to keep it (class size) within reason,” said Martin.

Martin also stated that there are a few open enrollment students in the class, but that it would not be fair to ask them to leave as they have been part of the class for several years.

Concerns voiced from Thomas and other parents at the meeting included the number of students in each room; the varied personalities of students; and a new teacher coming into one of the fifth-grade positions.

The class size at East Elementary is unlikely to be increased during the upcoming school year, according to Martin. He stated that any new fifth-grade students would likely be enrolled in a different elementary.

Athens City Schools operates four elementary schools — East, West, Morrison-Gordon and The Plains.