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Intermediate School promises to keep multi-age classes

The uproar over a proposed school district plan to curtail Intermediate School classes that combine kids of different ages may have been resolved.

At least for the time being.

On June 15, Cait Cassee and about 17 other parents met with Intermediate School Principal Eric Nerison to voice their concerns that the district was ending its multi-age classes.

After meeting with parents, Nerison said the classes will continue through next year.

“After discussing the K-3 multi-age program with the parents it became clear that specific expectations have been created about the options available to families once their children have been accepted into the program in kindergarten,” Nerison said. “As a result, we will continue to offer the program through the end of the 2007-2008 school year.”

The school district is under pressure to bring its budget in line with declining enrollment. Nerison said school officials will continue to study programming options in the future.

“In order to maintain effective multi-age programming in the future, we will look at all of our program offerings in greater detail during the district’s strategic planning process,” he said.

Cassee was pleased with the results of the meeting.

“Principal Nerison gave us as much time as we needed to share our concerns and thoughts. He listened, took notes, asked questions and spoke candidly — all in all, a very satisfying meeting,” Cassee said.

The primary reason for multi-age classes is to allow students the chance to stay with one teacher over several years.

“Our real concern is that the community recognize that this is not simply about multi-age in general,” Cassee said.

“Our children are varied and their educational environments reflect that. Some children excel in ‘traditional’ classroom environments; different teachers and learning environments every year can be stimulating to some kids and stifling to others,” she said.

Nerison added that the process will give administrators the time necessary to collaborate with staff, communicate with parents and examine options in greater detail prior to making any long-term decisions.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or jvanderford@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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