Bringing down class sizes: The latest efforts to balance classroom ratios at CCSD

A teacher commands a classroom
A teacher commands a classroom(Gray TV)
Published: Jul. 3, 2022 at 5:08 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Education leaders in Nevada are pushing for smaller class sizes in Clark County School District. And with new laws in place as of July 1, changes are already underway this summer that aim to improve children’s public school experience.

As of the start of this month, Senate Bill 151 is went into effect, meaning CCSD’s Board of Trustees will need to come up with a plan for smaller class sizes by improving student to staff ratios.

“When you’re in a crowded space, that really becomes a hazard and a danger,” said Kristan Nigro, a kindergarten teacher at CCSD’s Schorr Elementary School.

As FOX5 reported last school year, those ratios were being impacted by the staff shortages; for example, the substitute shortage.

“There are no substitutes available, they’re either in long-term positions, or just with everything and the crisis going on in the schools right now, people aren’t wanting to do it,” said Nigro. “Some people, unfortunately, they’re not able to get coverage, and then we end up splitting those classes, and then we gain like four to six extra students in the classroom.”

That’s one reason why CCSD’s Human Resources division is working to break down barriers for sub hopefuls.

CCSD told FOX5 Thursday, “The district is now allowing candidates without a license to go through the vetting and hiring process. If the candidate is offered a position with CCSD, they will still be required to apply for their license with the state.”

Another thing that could eventually bring down some class sizes is Senate Bill 102. Starting in the 2023-2024 school year, a child must be five years old on the first day of school to start kindergarten. This could mean up to 3,000 fewer students joining the K-12 system.

Trustee Danielle Ford previously expressed concern about the change...

“I have a niece who’s in kindergarten right now whose birthday is September 2. It would have made a big difference for my sister and if she wasn’t able to start kindergarten this year,” said Ford, who represents District F, in a board meeting.

But Nigro, a kindergarten teacher herself, said she feels it’s a good thing. She said pandemic shutdowns have impacted many children’s readiness.

“Most of the time when you have kids coming in, they’ve been to the park, they’ve played with other people,” said Nigro. “They’re not used to being around other people, so there’s none of that like social cues that like normally would take place.”