Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tardy Merge Rattles Parents, 1st-Graders at Minadeo

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tardy Merge Rattles Parents, 1st-Graders at Minadeo

Article excerpt

About eight weeks into the school year, the three first-grade classrooms were reduced to two at Pittsburgh Minadeo K-5 in Squirrel Hill, leaving children and teachers starting again to get to know each other.

The change was a result of "leveling," a process the district does each fall to balance school staffing when actual fall enrollment exceeds or falls below district projections.

This time, the only school to lose a teacher was Minadeo, where one of its first-grade teachers moved to third grade, with the third-grade teacher moving to another school.

Minadeo has an official enrollment of 388, which is 113 students or 22.5 percent lower than last year.

The school lost 32 students to the new Propel Charter School - Hazelwood, which attracted students from 17 city schools.

Minadeo principal Melissa Wager said an ESL program was moved from Minadeo to Greenfield, costing Minadeo 15 students, and some parents moved out of the city or the state.

Of the students in Minadeo's feeder pattern, 31 percent choose Minadeo, 18.2 percent other district schools and 50.8 percent nonpublic and charter schools.

Three other schools had movement within their buildings. Fourteen buildings had staff added. The district figures the net impact at an additional assistant principal, 10.5 additional teachers and four additional paraprofessionals.

The district has not yet completed leveling for special education.

Some Minadeo parents are unhappy that the leveling, which went into effect Friday, took place so late in the school year. They also note that enrollment at a neighborhood feeder school, such as Minadeo, tends to fluctuate.

Last year, Minadeo's fourth grade was leveled by reducing the sections from three to two, but later in the year, class size grew to 34, prompting the district to hire a class size reduction teacher who taught fourth-grade math and reading in small groups. …

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