Seven teachers transferred to reduce class sizes


Seven teachers move to new posts this week to reduce class sizes at seven schools with unexpectedly high enrollment.

The teachers are expected to be in their new positions tomorrow or Tuesday, said Al Tucci, human resources supervisor for the school system.

Centennial Lane, Clemens Crossing, Stevens Forest, Talbott Springs, West Friendship and Worthington elementaries and Burleigh Manor Middle School will get the new staff members.

The seven teachers come from schools that enrolled fewer students than anticipated: Clarksville and Guilford elementaries; Hammond, Owen Brown, Patapsco and Patuxent middle schools; and Centennial High School.

Though some volunteered to change schools, several teachers were transferred against their wishes. The transfers were made on the basis of seniority in their field of certification.

"It's the hardest thing we have to do as a school system," Mr. Tucci said of the transfers. "It's very disruptive, but it's got to be done."

The teachers will receive new class lists and new homerooms, as well as new curricula to adapt and teach.

Amy Silver, a first-year teacher, was transferred from Patuxent Valley, where she taught sixth grade, to Centennial Lane, where she will teach fourth grade.

On Friday, Patuxent Valley parents and students gave her a goodbye party, with cupcakes, cookies and a gift of stationery, so she could keep in touch.

Ms. Silver, who graduated from Syracuse University in May, said she will miss working at Patuxent Valley.

"We've already established a relationship -- I know it's hard to believe," Ms. Silver said. "We had a lot in common. We shared a lot of experiences."

School officials have tried to avoid removing teachers from their assignments by filling vacancies from a pool of teachers held in reserve.

But this year, all of the teachers in that pool -- the equivalent of 21.5 full-time positions -- were assigned a week before school started.

The number of teachers needed at each school is determined by the number of students. In elementary school, the maximum teacher-student ratio is 1:25; in middle schools, 1:20.5; and in high schools, 1:23.5.

At a recent Board of Education meeting, a handful of Steven's Forest Elementary School parents expressed concerns about large class sizes.

One parent said her son was in a first-grade class that had 31 students. The boy came home crying one day because he didn't have the attention of his teacher, she said.

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