Now that the April showers and May flowers happy times are done. It is time to get serious about September folx. Wait what?! That’s right, it’s class placement time again.
I for one am super stoked to be sending 29 unique and empowered learners on to their next grade. If it was possible, I would keep this group together as they have grown so well together since the start of the year. Sure there were some bumps in the sidewalk along the way to this point, but they are to be expected when 29 individual personalities occupy a space for an extended period of time. I can only look back with gratitude to the team of teachers, SERTs, and admin who took the time to curate this group.
It is in that spirit that I wish to do the same for the lucky, and I mean that sincerely, educator(s) who will be teaching my current class this September. Firstly, I filled out the little squares with names, academic levels, IEP yes or no, MLL yes or no, unidentified behavioural issues, preferred collaborator(s), non-preferred collaborator(s), and gender. Filling out these cards each year constitutes the most continuous handwriting of my year.
Admittedly, my cards looked like I was writing with my non dominant hand because they were a mess. Scratches, misspellings, and my scrawling will not make it easy on anyone however outside of the superficial look I think we did a good job setting our students up for success. This was especially important as our school is adding new classrooms and we want to be supportive of the new teachers who will be joining us too.
Avoiding perfect storms is always a good idea, but even the best of intentions can create them in classrooms. I have seen a new teacher arrive at a building along with a new admin or two only to discover that a mix that looked balanced on paper was going to be far different in real life. I know this happens with students coming from primary F.I schools grades 1 and 2 specifically. The sheer logistics of a multi-school class placement exercise can be onerous on all involved. As such some perfect storms are bound to occur. The interesting thing about class placements, is that in the room right next to the hurricane could be cool breezes and calm even though they were placed by the same team of educators, SERTs, and admin.
This year, we wanted to continue the thoughtful groupings while expanding the opportunities for our students to collaborate with like minded and supportive peers. We have also had to reckon with students returning to classrooms who were once provided SSC support for Language and or Math in the path. To this point, there will have to be a wait and see approach, but class placements will need to be considerate of how much support will be available for those individual learners with modifications in the IEPs. There will need to be an added layer of time to ensure no one falls through the cracks.
In the past, EAs, CYWs, MLL teachers, and SERTs have been stalwarts for students, but with SSCs closing and teaching assignments being re-allocated, I imagine that there will be a few storms as adapt to the changes ahead as it seems they will be joining in classrooms. I love the multiple-educator potential here, but am not sure there will be enough of the aforementioned to cover the numbers of students requiring support. This is not even factoring in the additional levels of distraction that can occur. I know with a cautious approach that allows time, check-ins, and some one on one support, things could work out for student(s) and educator(s).
In order to help a smaller class size would be a great first step. Accompanied by a well written IEP this shift could lead to some meaningful re-integration of students into homeroom classes. There will be clouds from time to time, but with strategic thinking around class placements now, the chance for a positive start in September is achievable. Happy placement meetings.