Local News

Officials Merge Students Into One Class At Cary School

Posted July 21, 2006

— Alexander Dowdy is a third-grader at the new Carpenter Elementary School. But come next week, he'll be sharing his classroom with fourth-graders.

"There's a lot of information that says you can do a good job teaching two grades together," said Carolyn Dowdy, Alexander's mother.

Carolyn Dowdy received a letter Thursday night saying there weren't enough students in Alexander's class, so the third- and fourth-graders would merge into one classroom. Not everyone is happy about the plan.

"I was not pleased. I was very upset when I read the letter," said Tricia Assaid, mother of one of the fourth-graders.

Assaid worries her daughter, Jazzy, won't benefit from being in a class with younger children.

"I just want to make sure, as every parent does, that my child is going to be pushed to her limit academically, so she really thrives in her educational experience," she said.

The school system said it plans for a certain number of students based on projections. But once school starts, those seats don't always get filled.

State law requires a certain number of students per class to earn a teacher. The third and fourth grades at Carpenter Elementary fall below the requirement.

School officials said it's very common, but they don't track the number of grades that merge.

"I can assure our parents and our children that great instruction is going to continue, whether it's a multi-aged class or not," said Vickie Brown, principal at Carpenter Elementary.

Brown said bringing in students from an overcrowded school wasn't an option. The area is growing, and the extra space for students will be needed soon.

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