ES: Parent input into classroom placement

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Dear ES Parents,

The classroom placement system is a long and thorough process that includes the opportunity for parents to give input.  Highlights of our classroom placement process are included below.

Kind regards,

Daniel J. Keller, PhD
Elementary School Principal

Introduction

Placing students in classes is a thorough and deliberative process in the elementary program of Saigon South International School.  We practice the research-supported approach of heterogeneous grouping based on specific demographic criteria and placing siblings in unique classes.  Parent input is taken into consideration in the process. Heterogeneous classes are assigned to homeroom teachers in a process that attempts to predict successful placements. Families are notified of class placements close to the beginning of the school year in order to minimize changes.  A process exists for considering parent concerns after the school year has begun. A consistent timeline is followed each year to help this process work successfully for all stakeholders.

Heterogeneous Grouping

Saigon South International School is committed to placing students into heterogeneously-mixed classes.  Heterogeneous grouping is a type of distribution of students among various classrooms of a certain grade within a school. In this method, children of approximately the same age are placed in different classrooms in order to create a relatively even distribution of students of different abilities as well as different educational and emotional needs. Students of similar characteristics (demographic, academic, etc.) are purposefully distributed throughout different grade level classrooms, rather than all together in one classroom.  As we distribute students, we consider criteria such as number of students in each class, English proficiency levels, learning support needs, gender, nationality, behavior needs, academic subject levels.

Prioritized Criteria for Heterogeneous Grouping

  1. Class size
  2. Learning support levels
  3. EAL levels
  4. Gender
  5. Nationality
  6. Behavior
  7. Overall academic performance
  8. Separating personality conflicts
  9. Balancing high needs parents
  10. Matching friends
  11. Balancing faculty children

Placement of Siblings

Our school common practice is to place siblings in different classes.  Reasons for separating siblings include heterogenous class configurations, disparity in skill levels, encouraging independence, avoiding one twin dominating the other, avoiding competition between siblings, minimizing distractions from home dynamics, encouraging expanding social relationships, minimizing ‘home behaviors’ in a school setting, and other students confusing facial recognition.

Parent input

At the end of every school year, parents are invited to provide additional information that may be considered in the placement process.  While parent input is considered, the school does not commit to grant all parent requests, as the highest priority is the creation of heterogeneously mixed classes.

Assigning classes to homeroom teachers

After the entire class placement process is concluded, classes are then assigned to homeroom teachers.   The list of individual students in a class are reviewed carefully. Best attempts are made to have students assigned to homeroom teachers that are predicted to be a successful placement.  It is important to note that in addition to the homeroom teacher, students also work with at least one teaching assistant and specialist teachers in the areas of library, music, drama, PE, visual art, language specialists, student support specialists, substitute teachers, instructional coaches, and guest speakers.

Notification of classroom placements

New students are admitted throughout the summer months.  Therefore, heterogeneous classes are not finalized until days before the school year begins.  Once parents are notified of classroom placements, we are unable to make changes before the first day of school.