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Pros and cons to 2nd grade student in 1/2 grade combo class


sdatti August 29, 2012

My daughter is starting the 2nd grade and I just learned that she was placed in 1st/2nd combo class. How could she possibly benefit from being placed in a combined classroom with more than half of the students in a grade below her? I raised my concern to the Principal but got a reply saying that classes are already full.

Can the school district move the student to combo class without informing parents? Do I have any other options to take her out from combo class? For those of you who have experienced combo classes--any input on pros and cons?

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MagnetMom August 29, 2012

Hi Sdatti,

We recently answered a similar question here:

The reality is that split classrooms are less than ideal for BOTH grade levels. The teacher would prefer to have a single grade level, and your principal would prefer to have enough students to have an additional 1st grade and an additional second grade. Class ratios come from the state and the district. So at your child 's school there weren't enough kids to afford another teacher at each grade level. Perhaps many students registered literally the week before school started (this happened at my daughter's previous elementary).

Private schools, esp. smaller ones, often have splits. There'd be no reason for the school to tell you in advance (unless they're anticipating one and are encouraging people to encourage their friends to enroll). Students are often chosen by their ability to work well independently. You can try to enroll your daughter in another school, but there's no guarantee that a split won't occur at that school the next year.

My suggestion would be to give it a little time. Talk to other parents, and ask to meet with the principal and teacher.

Some questions to ask is "Does this class receive a full-time aide?" "How does the instruction get divided?" "Will the class be divided if new students arrive before norm day?"

See if this class can have additional volunteers to help in the classroom, and start recruiting parents to volunteer. And if the class is close to the norm--go out and recruit those last few families to get the class divided.

Splits have been around since the beginning of time. Remember the little red schoolhouse was one room and kids from kinder through graduation were schooled there. It can be done.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.


guyrina August 29, 2012

Smaller class size is for combo classes = more one on one time. It doesn't slow 2nd grade learning down if that is what you are worried about. I think it makes them better as a student, child and peer.


Momofapiddkid September 2, 2012

They do the split class in the town we live in. 1st and 2nd in one class. 2nd and 3rd in another class. I have heard from a few of the parents that it was not beneficial for the older grade. I have also heard that the students get more one on one time and the teachers can give more time to a child who is not as advanced. I understand that they can't have a teacher for each grade in the school, but I don't feel it is as beneficial. That is just my opinion and I don't know first hand how it works at our school this is just from talking to other parents who have school aged children. Good luck I hope it is beneficial for your daughter.


Sarapostale October 16, 2012

Pros: less kids, less distractions! Has more alone time! Teacher can answer more questions that she has!
Cons: can't socialize well, might seem like homeschooling with all mixed grades because of grade 1,


tammieflick October 21, 2012

My kids charter school did this one year, my daughter was not a part of it, but was with some of the same children in kinder and again in 2nd(it was a 1st/2nd combo class). Our school capped class size at 18, leaving four "extra" children in 1st and 6 in 2nd, so that class was much smaller than my daughters. That school focused on project based learning and quite honestly their was no difference. They still broke up into small groups for math/reading and came together for projects-which components were then broken up into group work with each group having kids with different strengths and weaknesses(it was supposed to simulate a real life situation-like at work when the engineer, accountant, salesman, etc all come together for a project).

The following year I believe the kids from the combo class learned just as much as my daughter-maybe even a little bit more just because of the reduced class size.

Good Luck!!

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