Shullsburg School District will be rearranging staff duties in order to stay in compliance with the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) grant program for the 2013-2014 school year.
The SAGE grant program has eligible schools enter into renewable five year contracts designed to promote academic achievement through lower class sizes in the primary grades. Schools can receive state aid up to $2,250 for each eligible low-income K-3 child.
There are requirements to stay in compliance with SAGE, one of which is having student to teacher ratios of no more than 18:1 in grades K-3.
This year in Shullsburg there are two sections of second grade that each have 20 students and one section of third grade with 21 students, so those three classrooms do not meet the SAGE student to teacher ratio requirement.
Last year the district also had some larger than normal class sizes, but was able to construct a model that kept them within compliance with SAGE.
“Technically, we were in compliance as some of the students in each of those grades were being “pulled out” of the classroom for aspects of their core class instruction, for example students with I.E.P’s (individualized education programs) go to the Special Ed. teacher for reading and/or math instruction. In other situations, another teacher was going into the classroom and working with a small group of the students on specific skill areas,” said district administrator Loras Kruser.
Kruser went on to explain that this year the district is having difficulty maintaining that same method, due to the fact that a teacher resigned from the district last year and the district decided not to fill the position, leaving the school with one less teaching position to work with and the same requirements to fulfill.
The school district could have continued using the same method that was used last year, but then they would not have been able to sufficiently meet individual students’ I.E.P time frames or were infringing on Title 1 time due to the special education and Title 1 teachers devoting instructional time to the classrooms that needed to meet the SAGE compliance.
So from there the school district was looking at two options: either hire another teacher or reassign a current staff member in order to meet SAGE requirements.
At this point the district has decided to reassign a current staff member. Lindsey Poppy, who was previously working as a student services coordinator, will now essentially be working as a full-time SAGE teacher.
According to Kruser, the responsibilities previously handled by Poppy will be reassigned to different individuals, including administration and special ed. staff. The district will also be purchasing additional services from CESA.
“Ultimately, this will be a better use of staff resources for more students in all of the elementary grades,” said Kruser.