Rush-Henrietta Central School District

Small Class Sizes Help Enhance Academic Achievement

The Rush-Henrietta Central School District is committed to providing smaller and more personalized learning environments for its students. The district’s philosophy took root in its elementary schools more than a decade ago and has expanded to the middle and high school levels. Intent on creating the best conditions for student learning, Rush-Henrietta has reduced class sizes for students in grades K-4 to an average of 15 students per class; fifth grade classes are only slightly larger. Teachers now have a greater ability to meet the needs of all students, differentiating instruction based on individual needs and learning styles. They also gain the opportunity to connect with students and their families on a more personal level, promoting a positive home-school connection.

In our middle schools, teams of teachers are responsible for 80 to 85 students, which is 30 percent fewer than in the past. These classes generally have 20 to 22 students. Middle school leaders say gains made in core subject assessments can be attributed in part to the teaming structure, which allows for common planning time for teachers. In addition, students benefit from a small learning environment when they advance to the Ninth Grade Academy. The Academy houses a single grade and allows students to experience further personal and academic growth on a smaller scale before moving on to the high school. The intimate school setting allows students from the two middle schools to get to know one another during ninth grade and develop class unity. In each of these settings, student achievement data shows our approach is working.

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