Multi-age classrooms combine different ages and abilities, and are being used as a solution to budget restraints. An upside is that they also allow for teachers to develop personalized learning techniques.
At Medora Elementary School, the decline in enrollment and budget deficit forced some changes in how the classrooms were set up. Teacher Luanne McCammon found that she had a mission to make some changes, as her classroom combined five first graders with 18 second graders. She had an assistant to work with as well, which enabled her to tailor instruction to students on their individual level.
“This has been a rewarding year,” McCammon said. “I have grown as a teacher, and I have seen only positive results with the students.”
During the 2017-2018 school year, Superintendent Roger Bane and Principal Austin Absher have proposed converting all the elementary classrooms in the Medora Community School Corporation to multi-age classrooms.
A school corporation may not be in a deficit fund situation, and a deficit for 2017 is predicted. The school relies heavily on enrollment for support, as they currently receive $6.358.15 per student in tuition to cover a six month period. There has been a steady decrease in enrollment since September 2014.
Switching to multi age classes, eliminating an aide position, and adjusting employee insurance contributions will result in significant savings.
Absher found in her research that multi-age groupings tend to work well, as this is how society is structured. “Our students (would) have the opportunity to exchange ideas, to learn roles and responsibilities from one another as well as develop leadership skills within the classroom,” she said.