USD 501 reduces class sizes at elementary school’s

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 8:52 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - USD 501 elementary school’s will see smaller class sizes this year as the district works to limit possible exposure to COVID-19.

Kaylee Erickson said, “We’re hoping that being able to have the students in school in these smaller areas is really going to affect everyone in a positive way.”

Erickson is a 4th grade teacher at Jardine Elementary School. She’s also part of their COVID team that brainstorms ideas on the safest way to return to the classroom.

She said, “Just being a part of a lot of those conversations, that’s what I think led them to asking for my input about micro-teaching.”

Erickson spoke in front of the Topeka Public School board Thursday night on the benefits of smaller class sizes.

”I can look through data and really be able to personalize learning easier for 15 students, rather than my normal 25-26 students,” she said, “So, being able to hone in and find their strengths and weaknesses and continue to help them grow is going to be a great advantage of this upcoming school year.”

Mark Tallman, Associate Director of the Kansas Association of School Boards said when it comes to safety, it’s a good move for larger districts like USD 501.

“If you’ve got situations where you’ve got larger class sizes and you’ve got more risk in the community, it’s going to be more important in that case to take different steps,” he continued saying, “If you have smaller groups, social distancing is easier.”

Erickson said this model also makes her and other teachers feel more comfortable.

”Rather than me having upwards of 25-30 students in a week, now i’m only going to be seeing 15 students for an entire week. So, my exposure is going to be way less,” she said.

Micro-classrooms won’t be introduced until Phase II of Topeka Public School’s reopening plan.

Erickson said, ”I feel pretty confident that we won’t go back in-person until numbers are good and everyone is feeling confident to be back in the building.”

Parents may still choose the hybrid or all-remote learning model. The district encourages them to make that decision by August 12th, but the option to move to another model will be available each quarter.

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