Towards the end of each school year, we invite our parents to provide any information that they may want us to consider in the class placement process for the coming school year. If you wish to do so, please fill in our ES Parent Class Placement Input Form, before May 1.
Many parents ask us what the class placement process looks like. How do we choose in which class, and with which classmates, we place your children? And how do we determine what students end up with which teachers and classmates? In short, how does a class become a class?
You may be surprised to learn that a lot of careful planning, many meetings and a great deal of thought goes into the research-supported approach that we use at SSIS. The approach, called “heterogenous grouping,” means that we strive to create as diverse a group of students as possible. This diversity is based on a multitude of factors, which you can read more about, below.
What Exactly Is “Heterogeneous Grouping”?
Heterogeneous grouping places children of about the same age in different classes to create as even of a mix as possible, based on different abilities, different educational needs and different emotional needs. Students that have similar characteristics (demographic, academic, etc.) are spread throughout different grade level classes, rather than all together in one class. As students are placed in a class, we also consider things like the number of students in each class, the students’ English proficiency levels, the learning support needs, the gender balance, nationalities, behavior needs, and the students’ individual levels per subject.
What We Look At First in Heterogeneous Grouping
- Class size
- Learning support levels
- EAL levels
- Overall academic performance
- Separating personality conflicts
- Balancing high needs parents
- Matching friends
- Balancing faculty children
Our school’s common practice is to place siblings in different classes. Reasons for separating siblings include heterogeneous class configurations, differences in skill levels, encouraging independence, avoiding one sibling 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.
Assigning Classes to Homeroom Teachers
After the class placement process is completed, classes are assigned to homeroom teachers. The list of individual students in a class is reviewed carefully, and matched to homeroom teachers that are predicted to be a successful placement match.
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
Since new students are admitted throughout the summer, the class placement is not finalized until a few days before the school year begins. Once parents have been notified of classroom placements, we are unable to make changes before the first day of school.
Lastly, please note that while parent input is taken into consideration, as outlined at the beginning of this post, SSIS does not commit to grant parent requests, as our highest priority is a heterogeneous grouping and well-balanced class for all students.