California Educator

November 2013

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Bargaining Advocacy Smaller class sizes for kindergartners Seeing the results of working for Prop. 30 STORY AND PHOTOS BY DINA MARTIN W A L K I N T O T H E kindergarten classes at Williams Ranch School in rural Nevada County and you'll see a room teeming with activity as teachers keep a mindful eye over their students, ages 5 and 6. And thanks to the addition of a new kindergarten class, there are 19 youngsters in the class instead of the 30 who were there a year ago. The creation of the new class couldn't have come Nancy Crews at a better time. Parents were so concerned about the overcrowding that some considered enrolling their children in a local charter school. That was before Proposition 30 passed last November. In January, the school district funded an entire new kindergarten class and reduced the two others from 30 students to 20 or fewer. "Administrators provided immediate relief the same week Prop. 30 passed. I know this is rare, and it took a lot of work on PVTA's part, getting school board Go Online Your local bargaining teams work hard to improve your working conditions, salary and benefits. Read about issues and bargains from across the state online. 42 Educator 11 Nov 2013 v2.1 int.indd 42 members elected, participating in the hiring processes, and having administrators we could work with," says Peter Minett, Pleasant Valley Teachers Association president. "Through the hard times, we maintained good working relations with our administration."  While all teachers recognize the benefits of smaller class sizes, kindergarten teachers may be especially aware of the impact, says Minett. "When you The passage of Prop. 30 and teamwork helped decrease class size have 20 kids in a class, that helped students and teachers like Kristin Sewell. there's a good chance you can get around to all of them every day. When there are 30 kindergartners in a class, it doesn't take Souza and other parents mobilized and long for half of them to realize they don't wrote letters to the school board about the have a chance of participating. You can situation, so when the district recalculated lose them at age 5." its budget in January, lowering kindergarten class sizes became the priority. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A FEW KIDS MAKE This year the three kindergarten "It's been night and day," says Nancy teachers can get to each student each day. Crews, who had several children with Students get more attention. Behavior behavior issues among her 32 students last management is easier. The teachers are year. Added to the mix were the students still kept on their toes tending to their who were 4 when they were enrolled in the full-day kindergarten classes. There are transitional kindergarten program. stories to read and analyze, art activities Sarah Souza, a volunteer parent who to prepare, math lessons to teach, and served in the class, attests to the change. "It life lessons to impart — such as "Cover was so chaotic. We couldn't even go to the your mouth when you cough," "Step over library. It took 25 minutes to walk across Emily when she's taking a nap," and "Line the school yard. Some days I'd take three up next to your partner." or four students outside so she could do some hands-on activities with the others." NOVE M B E R 2013 11/13/13 6:31 PM

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