PISD adjusts for growth

In News by Reporter News

Class sizes in Pearland are coming very close to the state’s mandated 22 students to one teacher ratio.

It is common for school districts to request a waiver for classes that go over the ratio.

At PISD’s September board meeting, Superintendent John Kelly said the number of classes needing a waiver has decreased.

“Two years ago, we had 50-plus classrooms exceeding the 22 to 1 ratio,” he told the board. “Last year, that was reduced to 22. This year, we are reducing that further – it says nine in the packet – but we are reducing that to four. We’re going to hire a teacher who will eliminate five of those.”

The district is adding a teacher at Silvercrest. At Cockrell, two classes remain at 24 students, he said and at Silverlake, two classes have 23 students.

During the past five years, student enrollment at Pearland ISD has increased 12 percent.

Administration must constantly make adjustments to accommodate the district’s growing enrollment. During the Sept. 8 meeting, trustees approved the hiring of an additional inclusion aide at Magnolia Elementary and two more classroom teachers at Turner College and Career High, where the enrollment has hit 1,000.

Inclusion staff help students with handicaps access regular classroom instruction. The extra classroom teachers at Turner will help meet demands in the Spanish and Agricultural Science courses. Turner staff report that Spanish classes are filled to capacity with 100 more students requesting the course this year. Ag science classes, too, are currently overcrowded.

Also approved were an additional teacher at both Sablatura and Rogers.

“The thing we’re most concerned about is at Sablatura, they’ve hit the 900 student mark,” Kelly said. “Really, they are entitled by our own staffing formula to have an additional assistant principal there to handle that many kids. We’re going to come back to that mid-year to see how they handle these first few months.”

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