Learning and loving

Slade Elementary School Kindergartner Mylee Webster paints a “heart tree” for Valentine’s Day in February during art class.

CAMERON WALKER/Boomerang staff

Albany County School District No. 1 is looking to next school year’s predicted enrollment to see where teachers might be needed to address inconsistent class sizes.

Using the current number of students enrolled in the school district and the number of teachers at each school and what grade they teach, ACSD No. 1 officials were able to calculate approximately how many students a teacher would have.

The student-to-teacher ratio is important because state statute mandates each teacher should have a certain number of students, ACSD No. 1 Superintendant Jubal Yennie said.

Using the ratio, school officials can see where there are large class sizes and if they need to bring in more teachers there.

“We are trying to balance every elementary school so that (there are 16 students per teacher),” Yennie said.

According to information provided by ACSD No. 1, each of the public elementary schools in Laramie has at least one grade level where the student-to-teacher ratio is higher than what it should be. The second-grade classes at Beitel Elementary School have the highest ratio in kindergarten through third grade, with 21 students per teacher.

At several of the schools, the incoming third-grade class — which is smaller than the classes before and after — is creating issues because the next grade is in need of more teachers, Yennie said.

“What you end up with and what the elementary principals have had to do is every year if they end up with this small class and it goes up, and I have three teachers here and I only need two, they take that teacher and put them in where they need them,” he said. “The likelihood of something happening this year in these areas is very likely as well.”

In some instances, the school district isn’t able to move teachers from different grades or schools to handle a surge in students and they have to turn to hiring new teachers, Yennie said.

“A situation happened this year at Indian Paintbrush … and we had a big class and we finally just added a teacher in fourth grade, and now they still have large classes,” he said. “Now, Indian Paintbrush needs a fifth-grade teacher next year. Why? Because the fourth grade moved up.”

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