Why do you have a lottery for Multi-Age? How does it work?
The lottery for multi-age is based on a balanced lottery, including parent request and teacher referral. The lottery is for the program, not for a specific classroom. Classes are balanced academically, behaviorally, socially and by gender.
What makes the Multi-Age classes different from straight grade classes?
Each multi-age class is made up of 8-1st grade students, 8-2nd grade students and 8-3rd grade students. Students stay with the teacher for three years. Most students enter at 1st grade and that is where the majority of openings occur. Sometimes we have 1 or 2 open spots at 2nd grade.
We have three 1st-3rd multi-age classes. We also have 2-3 straight grade classes at each grade.
Since blended classrooms are born of necessity, how do you decide who is in a blend and who teaches a blend?
We choose a teacher who has experience working with multiple ages or who is excited about the opportunity to blend grade levels. Grade level teaming by the teaching staff is a well-used resource by blended classrooms to support their instruction at two different grade levels. We have a lot of staff who have experience teaching a blended class.
In a Blended class, does the lower grade stay with the same teacher for the next year?
We do try to keep the students stay with the teacher when possible. Looping is when a 1st/2nd blend becomes a 2nd/3rd blend the next school year and the same teacher and students stay in the class with some minor changes. Since the need to have a blended class is determined by enrollment, it is typically not decided until the spring.
How likely is it that there will be a blend next year?
It's always a possibility. We try to plan ahead with our enrollment projections and keep the class sizes low without creating a blended class, but sometimes that is not possible. We encourage families enrolling new students to do so by our Early Registration Deadline so that we have the best possible idea of projected enrollment for the next school year. We sometimes don’t have solid enrollment numbers until late June or even August!
Can you determine if the blend will continue on to the next year (looping)?
Blends are reviewed each year and depend on enrollment numbers and funding. If we have a blend, we examine closely the benefits to continuing it for a subsequent year and whether looping (keeping the students with the same teacher) is in the best interests for learning.
If my child is in a 1st/2nd grade blend as a 1st grader, then moves to straight 2nd grade class the next year. Will he fit ok academically?
Skill sets vary among all classes and teachers work with all students to bring them along from their current level. Students are taught the same curriculum, so they should transition well into the next year. Our teachers are highly skilled in meeting the needs of our students and their wide range of abilities.
Do students in multi-age or blends receive the same supports as those in straight grades?
We work with teachers to schedule Walk to Read, math supports, and special education supports in all programs. We have a support schedule for all grade levels and classes for those students in need of support.
What makes the multi-age program different?
Since each multi-age class is made up of 3 different grade levels, there are fewer same-age peers in each child’s grade level in their classroom versus a straight grade classroom where all the students are the same age. Because students stay with the same teacher for three years, parents and students will have a longer relationship with their teacher. Teachers of all classes work to build meaningful and productive relationships with their families to best support their students.
I have an only child and have no idea about how my child would do with small social circles. How do I determine if the multi-age program will be a good place for him/her?
This is a good conversation to have with the teacher to find out more about how your child interacts with peers. Questions to ask include: How well does my child make friends? Handle transitions? Navigate friendships?
How does multi-age mix with other students in the same grade level from the straight grade classes?
Because multi-age is comprised of three different grade levels it is very difficult to arrange common times to share with their straight grade level counterparts. We do try to create opportunities whenever possible and will share or overlap recess and lunch times with other grade levels.
Will my child benefit or be intimidated by seeing what older students are learning in math?
Multi-age classes group for math, so all 1st graders come together with one of the multi-age teachers, 2nd graders go to another multi-age teacher and 3rd graders go to the third multi-age teacher for math instruction at their grade level.
Are there any difficult transitions from 3rd to 4th grade when moving out of multi-age?
If your child enters the multi-age community, we encourage parents to facilitate their child's participation in alternate, outside of school activities to broaden their peer groups. When moving into 4th grade some students have a slight transition period (about a month or two) because friendships shift and change. This is common for many children (not just multi-age) at this age.
Do the 3 multi-age classes have recess together?
During recess and lunch times, all three classes go at the same time. Also, due to math grouping all students of the same grade level will come together for instruction.
I feel that my child will excel in a multi-age class. How can I ensure he gets into that program?
Our lottery system was designed to create equitable opportunity for all students to enter our alternative programs (multi-age or blended classrooms). With this system, there is no way to ensure a child's placement into multi-age.
Will there be a multi-age at 4th, 5th?
None in the planning stages at this time.
Straight Grade Classes:
How do I request a specific teacher?
Anytime a parent specifically requests a particular teacher on their Parent Input Form, that information is blacked out and not seen by anyone working on next year placement.
It's my understanding that multi-age classes are more project-based. Does that mean if my child is in a straight grade class they won't be able to learn by doing fun projects?
All of our classrooms participate in thematic, project-based learning. Children enjoy learning through projects and themes throughout the school.
Do multi-age and straight grade students learn the same things?
Yes. They have the same curriculum and the teachers participate in the same professional development activities. There is much collaboration between our multi-age teachers and our straight grade teachers. The curricular themes may occur at different times for a student in the multi-age program and a few of the themes are different.