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Some Class Sizes Grow in Wilton

WILTON, Conn. – Class sizes in Wilton are creeping higher in some grades, according to a report presented Tuesday night to the Wilton Board of Education.

“Class size is the prime ingredient in providing our teachers the opportunity to provide a standard of teaching,” said Tim Canty, assistant superintendent. He said class sizes generally remained at the desired average of 23 for grades K-1, 25 for grades 2-6, and 25 for grades 7-12. But he had concerns in grades 1 and 3.

The ideal class size for Grade 1 is 18 to 20 students, Canty said. But all of Wilton's first-grade classes have 20 or more students, said board member Karen Birck.

“And the same for Grade 3, 100 percent of our classes are at or over the maximum,” Birck said. She hopes the third-graders will find “some relief” in class size as fourth-graders.

Cheryl Jensen-Gerner, principal of Miller-Driscoll Elementary, said cutting class sizes isn’t easy because it “doesn’t come out neat and easy.”

For Canty, an answer lies in relying on the enrollment projections that are presented to the board every year. They provide a look to the future and help in determining class sizes, as long as the projections are “on target and accurate,” he said.

“But when you see class size creep at the lower grades, I think that has impact throughout the district long term,” Canty said. “I’ve always had a strongly held belief that when you look at staffing across the district, you put your energy in K through 5. That’s where it all begins, and that’s where you really need to be mindful of what it takes to maintain class sizes.”

The class size report will be made available on the Board of Education's website.

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