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Combination Classes

The elimination of class size reduction has resulted in the creation of combination classes in the past couple of years. It is my sincere hope that the following information will be helpful in informing you about combination classes should your child be included in one.

Combination classes are organized to include students from more than one grade level in a single classroom. In these classrooms, students continue to receive the curriculum designed specifically for their appropriate grade level, although some class activities may be conducted with children of both grades included. The main goal in this type of instructional setting is to capitalize on the diversity of ability and experience in the mixed –age group to create a unique and effective learning environment.

Rigorous academic grade level standards define what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. So, fourth grade students in a three/four combination class will receive instruction and support designed to meet fourth grade standards, just as the third grade students will be supported in achieving third grade standards. The same is true in any combination class, where each grade level will be instructed and supported in meeting their own grade level standards.

Grouping for instructional purposes is the standard in any effective classroom. During many parts of the day, one group of students will work on an independent task while another group receives direct instruction from the teacher. In a single grade level class, these groups may be formed based on ability or interest. In a combination class, these groups are often established by grade level.

Grade level teams actively collaborate to improve the instructional program for all students, including those in combination classes. This might include such strategies as having students attend neighboring classes for specific content instruction, or ensuring that combination class students fully participate in field trips, student performances, first recess and culmination activities with their grade level peers.

The majority of Peterson teachers have had previous experience teaching a combination class. Their dedication, ability and teaching expertise have made this a very successful model for learning.