With MiSiS working, Cortines setting sight on class size reduction
Mike Szymanski | August 21, 2015
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Now that the MiSiS crisis seems to be in the rear-view mirror, Superintendent Ramon Cortines is focusing on another difficult issue for LAUSD — class sizes.
“We are now beginning to make necessary adjustments to class size,” he said in a statement released today. “For instance, we can open a new class and assign an additional teacher if it is over-enrolled. We can also transfer students to a class that is under-enrolled. Our goal is to stabilize classes and schools as soon as possible – certainly within the next two weeks.”
When he took over the school district again last year, Cortines was appalled by some of the class sizes. At one point district records showed that there were 1,500 middle school classes and 1,200 high school classes with more than 45 students.
Since then, the district and UTLA, the teachers union, hammered out a new labor agreement that set the average class size for K-through-3rd grades at 24 students, while high school classes could have a maximum of 46 students, but a preferred average of 42.5.
Some of the records show that a class is over-enrolled, but may not be. “Some students may be registered, but have not shown up for class,” Cortines explained. “Other students may be enrolled at more than one school. Principals, counselors and other school-site staff are verifying records, and eliminating no-shows and duplicate students from MiSiS. At the same time, our human resources team has begun verifying that schools have the appropriate number of teachers.”
Overall, Cortines reiterated what he told LA School Report earlier this week, that he was happy with an “extraordinary first week of school.” He wanted to congratulate school-site heroes – both classified and certificated employees – for their hard work, as well as parents and guardians for their confidence in the schools.
“I am especially pleased with how well the My Integrated Student Information System program is working,” he said in the statement today. “Not only has MiSiS supported scheduling and attendance, it also has allowed us to quickly identify classes that are over- and under-enrolled. These imbalances are common during the opening days of school, but MiSiS has provided us with the information more rapidly than in past years.”
He added, “As we did during the weeks leading up to the start of school, we are working together to provide the best learning experience for our students.”