"In the Know" Weekly Newsletter - The International School

Update from Robert Woods

Dear Parents,

During the course of this year, I will present through ITK different processes we use to organize operations and facilitate decision-making. The goal is to remove some of the mystery, deflate rumors, or reduce anxiety surrounding specific tasks; in short, to be more transparent. The first focus is class size.

Assigning students to classes is an annual activity for the most part. The process takes into account many factors:

  • Balances – Class assignments are shaped by the balance of genders, known friendships, known combinations that may be disruptive, and the number of students per class.

  • Limits/Restrictions – Class assignments consider:
    • Policy - TIS policy limits homeroom classes to 19 students to enable individual attention.

    • Physical Space - This has a tremendous impact on class size. TIS has developed a formula for the amount of space that is desirable for our teaching methods. In addition, the Oregon Children's Services Division sets minimum square footage per child for prek & lowk. These formulae help determine class room assignments since every TIS room is a different size and shape. 

    • Depth in a balance category - For example, it is difficult to balance classes by gender if there are only two girls in the track/grade. In such cases, we would most likely assign both girls to one class instead of splitting them up.

  • Practices - When possible, we assign a smaller class to any teacher who is new to TIS.

Taking into account all of these factors, the staff builds classes in an activity that resembles three-dimensional chess. No single element determines class assignments by itself, and additional variables may come into play. I hope this offers a better understanding of class and room assignments. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Robert Woods, Head of School, 503-226-2496 x122, RobertW@intlschool.org