Class sizes in the Redwood City School District (RCSD) and the single-school Woodside Elementary School District (WESD) have been steadily increasing over the past few years, virtually matching the pace of the state of California's rising debt.
According to the statistics published on the Ed-Data website, the average class size for the kindergarten through eighth grades throughout California is 23.1 students.
How do our local schools compare?
Redwood City's Clifford Elementary School has RCSD's largest average class size, at more than 33 students per class. It is also the only school district-wide with an average above 30. The next highest is Orion Alternative Elementary, with 29.0.
The two schools with the lowest class size in RCSD are Taft Elementary and Fair Oaks Elementary, with 19.2 and 19.4, respectively. They are also the only two schools district-wide with an average below 20.
Woodside Elementary School has the lowest average class size in the entire region, coming in at 12.4.
Check out more area schools here, or do your own comparisons on the Ed-Data website.
School Size Comparisons, 2011-12 School Grade Span Enrollment Average Class Size Pupils per Teacher
Number of TeachersAdelante Spanish Immersion K-6 579 29.9 26.8 24 Clifford Elementary K-8 742 24.7 33.3 35 Fair Oaks Elementary K-5 424 22.3 19.4 23 Garfield Elementary K-8 677 24.7 24.1 30 Hawes Elementary K-5 432 28.8 26.5 18 Henry Ford Elementary K-5 454 25.2 22.0 22 Hoover Elementary K-8 912 28.6 22.5 41 John F. Kennedy Middle 6-8 804 27.1 21.4 39 John Gill Elementary K-5 465 25.8 24.5 19 McKinley Institute of Tech. 6-8 407 26.5 21.5 20 North Star Academy 3-8 541 29.4 26.5 22 Orion Alternative Elementary K-5 252 28.0 29.0 11 Roosevelt School K-6 485 23.9 24.3 21 Roy Cloud Elementary K-8 811 28.4 24.6 40 Selby Lane Elementary K-8 712 25.0 23.3 31 Taft Elementary K-5 561 20.1 19.2 32 Woodside Elementary K-8 446 17.7 12.4 40 Statewide Average for Elementary Schools
K-5 532 n/a 23.1 n/a Statewide Average for Middle Schools 6-8 797 n/a 23.1 n/a
The statistics are published by the the Ed-Data website, a partnership between the California Department of Education (CDE), EdSource, and the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team to provide data about K-12 education.
When asked how she feels about class sizes, Redwood City School District Superintendent Jan Christensen said, "Redwood City School District was forced to increase class sizes due to massive state budget cuts, and state funding has not yet increased to a level that makes it possible for us to reduce the number of students per teacher."
She added, "We know that smaller class sizes are a priority to our staff and our parents, and it is something I would definitely advocate for if the state significantly increases funding in the future."
RCSD Trustee Shelly Masur, herself a parent of three school-age children, said she definitely wishes there were something the district could do to lower class sizes.
"RCSD raised class sizes gradually, first in middle school, then in all grades - all in response to budget cuts at the state level," she reiterated. "Just a few years ago we had 20 students per classroom in K-3. We now have 31 per class in many classrooms."
As for her family's own personal experience with RCSD schools, Masur said, "When my daughter was in fifth grade, there were 24 students in her class. When my boys were in fifth grade, there were 31 in each of their classes."
"I do not think our class sizes are good. I do wish we could decrease class size - especially for our youngest students. Many of our classrooms weren't really built for so many children and teaching such large classes is hard on our teachers. It's hard to teach that many, it's hard to get papers graded or students assessed, and it's hard to do report cards and get through student conferences."
She added, "If funding makes it possible, I would like to work to decrease class size. We don't know yet what the state funding will look like for next year so we don't yet know what the possibilities are, but do hope we will be able to decrease class sizes in the near future."
There's a long-standing debate surrounding the importance of class size. A report issued two years ago by the Brookings Institute indicated significant class size reduction—along the lines of seven to 10 students—had the biggest impact on student achievement, but this was much more pronounced in younger students than at the high school level.
What do you think about the class sizes in our local K-8 schools? Tell us in the comments below.
Also on Redwood City-Woodside Patch:
- Docktown Residents Respond to City Takeover
- Gang Member Who Viciously Attacked Sequoia Student Earns Third Strike
- Community Upset Police Find Leyla Beban at Fault in Fatal Collision
- Friends Start Book Drive in Memory of Leyla Beban
- San Mateo County Earns Top Credit Rating in State
- Design for New Apartments at Old Mel's Bowl Site Revealed
- Map: What's the Average Commute Time in Redwood City?
Stay informed on the latest news and events in your local neighborhood - follow Patch!
Sign up for Redwood City-Woodside Patch’s daily newsletter
"Like” us on Facebook
"Follow” us on Twitter
Want to share your opinions with the communities of Redwood City and Woodside? Start your own blog here.