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Moving my 1st grader into a 1/K combo class


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kganier September 15, 2011


Somehow my daughter's class had 25 kids instead of the cap of 24 so principal calls & tells me she's moving my daughter to Kinder/1st combo class.

We enrolled later in the summer but were not the last 1st grade family to enroll. I asked why they couldn't take the last one to enroll out of their 1st grade class, move my daughter into that class, and move the last one in to the K/1 class. The principal says 'we don't want to disrupt more children than we have to.' WT????>? 2 kids disrupted during the 2nd week. DUH!

The principal lied to me and said it was the district's decision and that there's basically nothing I can do about it. I called the school district and they don't know what she's talking about!

This is from a Great-Schools "10" rated school (but this principal is new to the school this year.)

My daughter LOVES school. She can hardly wait to go to school every day! Even in summer "Mommy, when does school start?" Counting down the days until school starts - but in a good way!!!

Last January in Kinder at her private school, she was tested and it showed she was already reading at 4th-grade level and her reading comprehension was at 2nd-grade level.

To me, a K/1 class equals Higher achieving K's and average 1st-graders. My daughter is beyond average (and really, I don't say that just because I'm her Mommy). She truly is remarkable. If it were happening to my other son/daughter, I'd be perfectly fine with it. BUT . . .

I can see the writing on the wall. If I let this evil principal do this to my daughter, she is going to be bored to tears, and she's going to end up in a lot of trouble because of that boredom. I believe her maturity will regress and it's not going to be a pretty picture for anyone!! Especially me because I work graveyard shift, my 1st two kids are only 14-months apart, and my patience is very thin (think razor-cut garlic that melts in heated olive oil.)

I worked hard ever since she was 4-months old to teach her so I wouldn't be so stressed out when my others came along.

My biggest fear of all is that she's not going to LOVE going to school like she does now (and has since she was 3).

Our kids were in private school last year and we agonized; I mean, AGONIZED over putting them in public school this year.

The district is calling over to find out what the deal is . . . . Please pray for us!

If not . . . Home School, here we come!!!!

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MagnetMom September 16, 2011


Hi kganier,

Hang on a second. Sometimes in a split, they actually put the more self-motivated children because they will be working independently part of the time.

If you have concerns about the teacher's classroom management and how she'll be teaching the standards to the entire class, ask for a conference.

Is kindergarten full-day or half-day where you are?

Before you melt away, find out the details. The principal is right not to place the "last enrolled" in a class when they likely hand chose the students for this. A split class room can be difficult or it can be a dream.

In my daughter's school, there is a grade split, but at no point are both grades with the teacher. The students spend part of the day in various classes, but the fourth graders get alone time with the teacher while the fifth graders are with the science teacher and vice versa.

Hang in there. This very well could be an amazing opportunity for your daughter.

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emnaylor October 2, 2011


When I taught a K-1 combo class I loved it!! The kinders were half day and the first graders learned sooo much that year, it was amazing the progress they learned (the kinders and the first graders). Even though it was a lot of work for me, the kids were wonderful students and it made the combo class easier than a straight class (as far as discipline goes). I was able to do a lot more for each of the students instead of just trying to play catch up with the kids who were below grade level.

It's also possible that the kinders chosen for this class are high achieving as well with a lot of support (parent helpers in the classroom) so this could really be a blessing for your daughter.

If your daughter is bored in the K-1 class, she'd most likely be bored in the first grade class as well. So don't blame the combo class for a terrible year. The students in her class are probably well behaved and independent workers, which means that her teacher will be able to do more with the different levels of ability.

As for the principal, maybe you misinterpreted each other. Maybe she meant that it was the districts decision to make a combo class instead of other options (busing children to another school). If you are on a track system, maybe the last one enrolled has a sibling on a different track. There could be so many reasons why your daughter was placed in that class.

Good luck, I'm sure your daughter will still love her teacher/class. Instead of thinking of it as a negative, try to think positive and tell your daughter how she's the responsible first grader and she's probably going to get to help kindergartners learn all the neat things she's learned.

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ClaytonParent October 2, 2011


A combo class can be an absolutely amazing thing for either the younger ones or the older ones. For K/1, you probably have a distinct advantage in 1st grade because part of the day (maybe 2-3 hours) only the 1st graders will be with the teacher. If your class size is 24, it's probably going to be 12 Kinders who are there 8-11am or so, while the 1st graders are there 8 to 2:45pm or so. that could mean that your child would have only a 12/1 ratio for nearly 4 hours of the day! Think of the advantage of that!

"Do not prepare the path for the child. Prepare the child for the path and he will find his way."

- Unknown, Native American

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astralbody10 October 2, 2011


I don't know how your school system uses the combo classes. When my son moved from a private kindergarten to public school he too was placed in one of these combo classes. I was worried that because he wasn't in the main stream system from the start he was being held back. It turned out to be the farthest from the truth. The teachers knew his private school well and, on recommendation, often gave these students bits of teacher helper responsibilities with the younger students. The younger ones advanced faster with the help of the more self starting first graders. The kinders were only there part of the day and the older students were often in a science or math class with another teacher, but the time spent helping them was review for learning their first grade work. Which they did much faster, I feel, because of the self confidence gained by showing others what they knew. My son went in to first grade at a third grade reading level and started second grade at a sixth grade reading level! He still enjoys all aspects of school and jumps at the chance to show someone something he knows. Just ask the kids in his scout troop!

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EXCteacher October 3, 2011


"Don't worry be happy". Your child is in a better place. Most likely he/she was "chosen" because of his proven abilities and recommendations from his other school.

He/she has abilities higher than others I'm sure.

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kganier October 3, 2011


Thanks to everyone who had advice/opinions/experiences to share.

I was venting, and glad I did it on here instead of going off elsewhere.

I met with the principal the very next day. She dropped everything to meet with me, to observe the classroom and to talk to me. That was so awesome. She explained the rationale and everyone was right! They picked the 1st graders who are sponges. The kids who catch on quickly, retain the info, and can work well independently and as a group.

I especially love the fact that student/teacher ratio goes way down when the Kinders are in their center-time with the other Kinder classes.

So it turned out to be a good thing!

Thanks again for the comments. It was very encouraging!!!

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hhchavez2002 August 26, 2012


I heard everyone talked about wonderful things of being 1st grader in the 1/K combo, because the kinders go home after 4 hours and the 1st grader get all the attention from the teachers.

but how about the 2nd grader being placed into a 1st/2nd combo class? my son too had a similar situation just like your daughter, when he was in private kinder, the school did a test among most of the kinders in the nation, and he scored the highest in his school, when he went to public for his 1st grade, within 2 weeks, 1st grade teacher already wanted to place him in the 1/K combo, I had to talk to the principal in order for him to stay in his original 1st grade class.

now that he is going to 2nd grade, again he is being placed into 1st/2nd grade combo class, during his 1st grade school year, he went to advance reading class, all his lessons and quizzes scored no less than 94% out of 100%, and his 1st grade report card showed nothing but O (outstanding) and S (satisfactory), I too am not saying how great my son is just because I am his mother, however, I am really concerned and wanted to know if 1st/2nd combo is beneficial to him?

anyone???



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