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Continued: Lakeville moving to cut metro's largest class sizes

  • Article by: ERIN ADLER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 12, 2014 - 3:00 PM

Lind questioned how the studies measured student learning, and said they likely didn’t account for the quality of students’ relationships with teachers. Such relationships, essential for kids’ development, are stronger with fewer kids per class, he said.

Snyder said that there are more innovative ways to approach the class size issue — and the success of some of them can already be seen in the district. She cited Impact Academy, the district’s program for grades K-3 that lets students advance at their own pace. Without conventional grade levels, the school can just hire a set number of teachers, making it “really easy to balance out the numbers” in terms of students per teacher, she said.

Other solutions include hybrid classes, with some lessons online and some in a traditional classroom, or flexible scheduling, where students might meet for a large-group lecture one day and a lab or small group study session the next, for different time increments. Such an arrangement uses fewer teachers and enables students to have more meaningful interactions with them as well, Snyder said.

Snyder believes that while parents are often insistent on the power of smaller class sizes, that could change if they were shown a different model. “Until we courageously change our system, we’ll continue to spend our money on things that are low influence,” she said.

Erin Adler • 952-746-3283

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