FREDERICK, Md. (DC News Now) — Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) want to improve the student-to-teacher ratio, but doing so has a big price tag and other problems to solve.
The Board of Education is looking to lower classroom sizes, but with the district being one of the fastest-growing schools in the state of Maryland, that could be a huge challenge.
“I think we’re trying to still make up for ground that we lost during the pandemic. and we’re looking at any tools in our toolbox that we can possibly put together to help increase our learning of our students,” said Sue Johnson, FCPS Board president.
FCPS is currently trying to fill its teacher vacancies before it can lower classroom sizes.
If the district is able to pull that off, leaders want to get the average classroom size down from about 29 down to 22.
It would take $8 million to reduce a classroom by one student, an amount that is not currently in the school’s proposed budget.
“It might be better investment of our dollars to increase the number of instructional assistants in a classroom to help the teachers, so it’s a complex challenge that we have,” said Johnson.
There are many benefits of reducing classroom sizes, including more time for instruction, more one-on-one attention from teachers and less disruption.
“Lessening the classroom sizes is really important in order to be able to reach all the students in what they need academically and emotionally and socially, having too many kids you can’t give them all the data they need every day,” said teacher Emily Powers.
The Board of Education will hold a public hearing regarding the budget next week.