Smaller math, English classes eyed for high school freshmen | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Smaller math, English classes eyed for high school freshmen

William Ferchland

A proposal to reduce class sizes for freshmen at South Tahoe High School in math and English will be heard and likely granted during a meeting Tuesday.

The arrival of class-size reduction, which fell victim to fiscal cuts two years ago, would cap the number of students at 20 per teacher. A vote by the Lake Tahoe Unified School District would return the program to the school, expand math and English sections from 12 to 18 each and require the hiring of two teachers.

The state-funded program at $204 per student will provide $148,716 and not impact the district’s general fund, said Superintendent Jim Tarwater.

Once eradicated at all grade levels from budget cuts prompted mostly by declining enrollment, class-size reduction will be at kindergarten to third grade at the start of the school year.

Educators say it is needed at ninth grade to help students get used to high school.

Without the program, there would be an average of 30 students per classroom in freshman English and an average of 31 per classroom in ninth-grade level math, which includes Algebra I.

A surprising number of students in last year’s freshmen class had grades below D, Tarwater said, noting one reason why class-size reduction might help this year’s incoming ninth-graders.

“When you see patterns you have to figure out how to break it,” he said.

New Principal Ivone Larson will present the board with the proposal during a meeting that also has a presentation of $70,000 check by the Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation to the district to fund class-size reduction at first grade for the second straight year.


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