May 18th, 2020

Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services

I think a the secondary level where teachers have way too many contacts, we need to limit the number of students they are responsible for truly engaging with and supporting. Turn secondary into elementary. Still have each teacher be the content expert based on their credentialing and expertise, but assign them a group of 25-30 students to case manage. We plan to build something like this into our scheduling plans for next year. Our secondary teachers desperately want to connect with and support students, but 160-200+ contacts make it impossible. So, our teachers will provide the educational platform for learning content, but then teachers will work with a small group of students to ensure they stay engaged, etc.

Our teachers are well trained in this area as our district knows that student learning is secondary to student safety and connection.

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Comments (5)

Comments (5)

I love the idea of less students for each teacher in order for teachers to be able to reach and maintain relationships with each of their students.

It's so much more difficult to do daily check-ins when I'm not seeing students walk through my door every day.

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Hi Kerry:

Would this be modeled on a home room concept? Or something different?

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Moving to smaller numbers of students secondary teachers engage with and teach every day sounds so logical!!! And...focusing on safety and connection vs. content, content, content--especially at the secondary level--is something we don't hear of that often! You all are being responsive to your students!!!

I'm working in a district whereby the content teachers are now thinking about all their students as ONE class. For a while, students and teachers were on a schedule...Humanities (9-10am), Science (10:30-11:30), etc. Teachers started worrying--students were MIA and many were not engaged, not turning in work, and they began a different approach. Now, they've developed small groups with student input and teachers meet with each group on certain days each week. Teachers also have "office hours" and meet with individual students. This small change--even though there are still large numbers in total for each teacher--has resulted in more engagement and showing up for synchronous learning times and more students are accessing and doing the work posted in Google Classroom--which is often project-learning. Also...these smaller groups enable more opportunities for check-ins, community circles, and social-emotional support based on need.
Thanks for giving us a vision for secondary distance learning, in particular! I hope we really can reduce numbers of students each teacher is responsible for at the secondary level--whether or not we continue with distance learning or return to our classrooms.

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I agree that small classes would be a better model if we want to support the whole child, particularly after the trauma many will have experienced during this pandemic. I also think we need to think about how we might support SEL in large classes. The economic projections for the 2020-2021 school year are pretty dire. I am not sure that planning for smaller class sizes is realistic for most school districts in California. I think that placing an emphasis on project based learning and service learning, which have opportunities for SEL built in, is another way to promote these skills in secondary students.

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I love this idea. According to current research on resilience, the most significant predictor of whether children who face significant adversity will succeed in school (and life!) is the existence of a relationship with at least one stable, caring, supportive adult who sees the best in the young person and expects the best from them. Teachers are frequently that one adult. But being that person for a hundred or more students is impossible and leads to teacher burnout.

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