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Newton Middle Schools Face Tough Numbers in Class Size Report

According to Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Joe Russo, the district will definitely be looking at some buffer zones for the upcoming school year.

With school facilities on the minds of most Newton administrators and elected officials, School Committee members last night received more information emphasizing the district's need to tackle aging buildings and space constraints.

According to the district's annual class size report, the number of classrooms with 25 students or more has grown across the city, especially in Newton's middle schools. 

To view the full report, click the .pdf to the right.

"This is coming directly from pressure to work within our resources and deal with rising enrollment," said Deputy Superintendent/Chief Administrative Officer Sandy Guryan.

While the average district-wide middle school class size only increased by 1.1 students this year, the number of classrooms with 25 students or more has increased by 13 percent, according to the report. 

Meanwhile, 18 percent of elementary school classrooms have reached 25 or more students, up from 16 percent last year. 

With the rise in students, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Joe Russo explained last night that the district will be looking at expanding school "buffer zones" for the 2012-2013 school year. 

"The map is open and we’re looking at all possibilities," Russo said. 

Last summer, for Angier, Zervas and Bowen Elementary School in order to reduce the population of Countryside Elementary, the district's largest elementary school. 

In addition, Russo said schools are looking at new ways to reconfigure space to fit more students.

Superintendent David Fleishman added that the administration will also look at the possibility of relocating some of the district's city-wide programs to free up space at schools. 

Middle school numbers

Although the average middle school numbers are on the rise district-wide, certain schools are more crowded than others. According to the report, 40 percent of 's classrooms have 25 students or more, Guryan said.

At , 41 percent of the classrooms have 25 students or more.

With the higher class sizes, Guryan explained that some team sizes at Day and Oak Hill are exceeding 100, well above the target of 88-90 students.

School Committee member Jonathan Yeo pointed out the disparity between the four middle schools, as Bigelow and Brown Middle School do not have the nearly the same number of large classes.

"It jumps out that Day and Oak Hill are dramatically worse off than the other two middle schools," Yeo said. 

Future of facilities

As the district looks at tackling its aging facilities, Guryan said the committee and administration will have to look at more options of expansion and renovation at exiting buildings, rather than building new school after new school. 

Guryan said the district wouldn't be able to "catch up to the capacity issues" it has by taking years to build one new school at a time.

Like , Guryan said the committee will have to think about "layering in" projects that expand teaching spaces and renovate current buildings. 

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