The Re-Org

Well, it’s bound to happen in any school once, but again? That’s new.

I teach in an amazing school in York Region that opened in Sept. 2014; right in the middle of a growing subdivision. Our original numbers for K to 8 seemed modest  at 300+ last year, and have since grown to over 5oo+ and rising in 2015.

Yup! Despite the statistical wizardry school boards use to construct population models, even the most seasoned actuaries struggle to solve an illusive problem in education, that of population growth or decline. As such, many schools like ours needed to be “re-organized”, and with that come a few highs and lows.


After months of prepping, planning and perspiring to start the year, our school has been re-organized to accommodate the incredible growth in our area. This week many students were introduced to new classes, new routines, new schedules, and new teachers. At the same time, teachers were introduced to new students,  had to choose which students to transition to new classes, rewrite plans/paperwork, and prepare for the possibility of different teaching assignments. None of which is ultimately a bad thing on its own, but to a new teacher it can be pretty daunting.

To outsiders, reorganization is something related to the business world that is usually a precursor to bankruptcy proceedings. In education it is merely a reality due to unpredictable student population growth and decline. Here’s a brief explanation as explained to parents;

“In order to comply with the Ministry class size reduction strategy, we have had to move small groups of students from many different classes. This process was done with emphasis put on academic needs, boy/girl ratios and social needs of students.”

In education it is an important measure to preserve government mandated class sizes in all elementary panels. As any teacher who has experience Re-Org knows, classes can be overcrowded to start the year. Frequently, JK/SK teachers can have 30 +/- , as can junior and intermediate teachers.

As students fill the classrooms to capacity and beyond, the need for more manageable class sizes becomes necessary and mandatory. This could mean more or less split/combined classes, new hires, surplusing, a complete reworking of teaching assignments, and or no change at all. Actual class sizes will then vary depending on the school, administrative creative class structuring, and or willingness to reorganize classrooms to accommodate what has been  “mandated” by lawmakers.

As a teacher it helps to be able to adapt/adjust and advocate for yourself when Re-Org happens. You are not alone. If you are new to teaching, ask for some support from your admin or a teacher who has gone through it before. Take time to communicate with students, clarify changes to schedules (yours and theirs), and collaborate with colleagues for resources, plans and curriculum content.

With school’s officially starting in September, it may not be until Re-Org in October when the routines, roll call, and real teaching can begin. You can do it.

Updated: October 1, 2015 — 8:23 am

The Author

Will Gourley

J/I lead learner and SERT at Adrienne Clarkson PS in the YRDSB. Focused on disruptive, and divergent modern learning. Member of the global TED-Ed(Club) movement, 1 of 110 TED Ed Innovative Educators, and Global Math Project Ambassador. Twitter @willgourley Proudly blogging here and at

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