New banner 8-21-09
 August 27, 2013
Teacher Changes at Our School

I sent an update in Tiger Talk on Sunday letting you know that changes are occurring and that I would communicate with you as I have specific details for your grade level.  As of Tuesday morning, we have worked out specific plans for grades 1 through 3, and grade 4 will be finalized this afternoon.  Parents in grades 1 through 3 received letters on Monday and parents in grade 4 will receive letters this afternoon. In the meantime, I've tried to compile the facts in this brief email.

Last Thursday, I was informed that we must lose four teachers - one in each grade 1 through 4 - due to enrollment being lower than last year.  To lose four teachers would impact our school and students greatly, as you know, and here is what the situation would look like:

We ask for volunteers, but we don't get volunteers.  Then we go to the last hired.  The last hired teachers are three teachers in first grade and one teacher in second grade.  Losing these last hired teachers would wipe-out half of our first grade.  We would then have to ask other teachers to step down into the first grade positions.  There would be resistance to this possibility.  Additionally, our class sizes in grades 1 through 4 would go to the maximum sizes of 27 (grades 1 through 3) and 34 (grade 4).

If we are creative and use alternate funding models, here is the situation:

Gifted and Early Intervention are programs that earn dollars outside of regular education. We determined the program to use in grades 1, 2, and 4 based on whether or not we have enough students qualifying to fill the seats.  These classes have minimum and maximum sizes as well, and we don't want to create a class that is under enrolled.  The minimum class size for Early Intervention is 17 and for Gifted it's 18.  Because we cannot serve all Gifted or Early Intervention students in an alternate program, we did establish criteria for eligibility.  For Early Intervention, we utilize Fountas and Pinnell reading assessment and the State EIP checklist.  For the Gifted Resource classroom, we utilized a combination of CogAT and ITBS scores.  As seats open in these classrooms, we can look to serve other

The specific plan for each grade level is as follows:

In grades one and two, we can create one alternate program classroom and only raise the class size for everyone by 1 student. If students do not want to be placed in the alternate class, we can then open seats to others.

In grade 3, we had 18 open seats which is almost a full class.  There is no creative solution to avoid losing a teacher.  First grade teacher Ms. Ashcraft was the last teacher hired and went to Vanderlyn. Third grade teacher Denise Saltman then volunteered to go to first grade.

In grade 4, the class size is larger so we needed two alternate classes to compensate. Once again, criteria was established to enroll students in these classes.  We chose Gifted Resource rather than Early Intervention because we did not have enough students qualifying for EIP service.  The same is for second grade.

By keeping our teachers, we have minimized the impact to the classrooms.  The alternate instructional models are not my preference, but they serve as a good way to get us through the school year with as little disruption as possible.

Change is never easy after the start of the school year, but I appreciate your patience and understanding as we work though a very difficult situation.

Jennifer P. Sanders

Dunwoody Elementary School
1923 Womack Road
Dunwoody, GA 30338
Phone (678) 875-4002
Fax (678)-875-4010