Recently, there have been concerns expressed about our elementary programs at both Healdsburg Elementary School and Healdsburg Charter School. Over the past few months, we’ve made several decisions to address concerns and create opportunities for all of our students to realize even more academic success.

This spring, we considered a fourth/fifth grade combination class at Healdsburg Charter School due to budgetary constraints. After careful consideration over the last few months, the HUSD Board of Trustees decided on May 9 day to eliminate the combination class at HCS.
This change was made after the district convened a Budget Advisory Committee to discuss priorities. The committee’s input was much appreciated, and though we differed on the elimination of the combination class, the remaining priorities were similar to the committee’s recommendations. We chose this course based on our belief that multi-grade elementary combination classes are not ideal.
While combination classes can be successful, they place a burden on the teacher who has to teach two sets of academic standards. Furthermore, creating smaller classes at HCS allows us to address concerns about access enabling more parent choice and movement between the schools. With the previously large class sizes being recommended, enrollment would have possibly been capped at fourth and fifth grade.
Earlier this year, we made the decision to combine the highly successful Blended and Accelerated English programs at HES. This decision was made for several reasons: (1) it eliminated the multi-grade combination classes allowing for more opportunity for students to better master academic standards; (2) it groups our students heterogeneously, providing valuable peer role modeling for our English Language Learners; and (3) it allows for more individualized instruction and depth than other classroom models. While this change will bring some increased costs, the benefits to our students more than justify the expenditures.
Next year marks the first year in the last 10 where HUSD elementary schools, with the exception of TK/K, will not have a multi-grade combination class. This change will help keep all of our elementary class sizes, at both HES and HCS, below state and county averages.
While we cannot always guarantee that these conditions will remain, we are committed to working toward the goal of smaller class size and the elimination of combination classes in our elementary programs. Through the continued support of our amazing community and strong partners, like the Healdsburg Education Foundation, our goal is to make this a reality for all of our elementary students in the future.

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