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A new class could be added to Whittier, but not Kindergarten

Whittier Elementary will not be getting a fourth Kindergarten class next school year, but could get one additional homeroom for a different grade, if needed. The Seattle School Board is looking at options to ease overcrowding in the school district and one of the options included adding a fourth Kindergarten class – an option that was opposed by the PTA.

In a letter sent to parents on Tuesday, Pegi McEvoy the Assistant Superintendent for Operations for SPS writes,

Our preliminary enrollment projections indicate we may need to add one additional homeroom at Whittier next year. The additional homeroom would NOT be for a fourth kindergarten class – we are still planning for three kindergarten classes. The potential need for an additional homeroom is based primarily on enrollment distribution across the grades. If enrollment is not as high as anticipated, we will not add an additional homeroom. However, we need to be prepared in case this need arises . We are looking at options in the building, given the fact we cannot place a portable on the Whittier site.

The school board is voting tonight on the Short-Term Capacity Management and the New Student Assignment Plan: Transition Plan for 2012-13. The Board will not vote specifically on adding a new classroom at Whittier. Placement decisions – moving or adding a new program to a school – will be made by the Superintendent. If a new homeroom is added, it is unknown which grade would get the additional class.

“These decisions are made prior to open enrollment to ensure that families can review their options for the next school year,” the letter states. “The Superintendent seeks guidance for these decisions from staff and community groups, such as the Special Education Advisory and Advocacy Council (SEAAC) and the Advanced Learning Task Force to provide input to inform these decisions.”

According to the letter, no changes in the Spectrum program or the Phinney Neighborhood Association programs are being considered at this time.

Individuals can email suggestions to: programplacement@seattleschools.org.

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