Kindergarten Class Size at Manor School Sparks Parent Concerns

District officials working toward plan that will attend to needs of kindergarten classes expected to average around 26 this fall at Seaford Manor School.

Kindergarten class sizes will be larger than usual at this fall sparking concerns from parents over whether their children will be provided proper attention.

There are currently three kindergarten classes scheduled for an enrollment of 78 students, according to district officials, which will equate to class sizes of 26, according to district officials. Parents at Thursday night’s Seaford school board meeting expressed concerns about 26 students being too large a setting for kindergarten students for one teacher and a half-day aid. Last year when kindergarten enrollment at Seaford Manor School was far lower, class sizes were under 20.

“It’s going to be complete chaos for the children,” said Donna Jebaily, who has a child entering kindergarten at Seaford Manor School. during the public comments portion of Thursday evening’s school board meeting held in the Band Room.

“I really feel we are doing them a disservice,” said Amy Holt, who also has a child that will be in one of the Seaford Manor School kindergarten classes come September.

The has 84 kindergarten students enrolled as of early July and  will have four classes with 21 students.

Seaford Superintendent Brian Conboy said the district would love to add another kindergarten class to the Seaford Manor School but is under budget constraints. Seaford is coming off a year of operating on a and while this year’s spending plan , the district is not in position to hire another full-time kindergarten teacher.

Conboy emphasized that he understands the parents’ concerns and will work hard with Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Personnel to come up with a plan that gives the kindergarten students as much attention as possible. He said this could include hiring additional part-time teachers to go along with the half-day aid currently provided. The number of kindergarten students enrolled at Seaford Manor School also could change by the end of the summer, he said.


AlreadyGone July 12, 2012 at 02:43 AM
@Chris: I moved out of state (think south) to an award-winning district where private school is thankfully not necessary. Also note, I was not concerned academically in KINDERGARTEN because I knew she entered very ahead of her peers. I would've been extremely concerned academically had I stayed in Seaford after what we experienced in that first year. (But that is a completely different topic entirely.) The topic at hand was class size and the point I was making was that it was a complete zoo with 23 kids in the class. You say it's manageable, but not from the seat my kid was sitting in.
Chris Wendt July 12, 2012 at 02:45 AM
@ NYC Teach re: "...When was the last time you talked to parents in the Seaford public schools. Girl Scouts, baseball, dance, beach etc. All parent conversations are the same. It's actually quite surprising how many people are so unhappy and willing to discuss it amongst each other but not at the board meetings. The schools are failing our kids and it's time to move to private school to give them a chance." We certainly do disagree on several of your points. There is nothing wrong with differing perspectives. With the exception of Girl Scouts, I have talked with Seaford parents in each of the venues you listed within the last couple of months and as recently as a week ago. Sorry, but I did not pick up on a single conversation that was negative toward Seaford schools; not one. Presuming you have had or overheard such school-bashing talk, can you explain the purpose of people talking among themselves like that, but shrinking from the opportunity to say something to the very people who could address their issues--the BoE? Sending kids to non-public schools is a personal and valid choice for anyone who takes it. In addition to tuition paid by parents, the taxpayers of Seaford pay probably $5,000 per kid attending schools out of district, including transportation, textbooks, and health services. However, Seaford taxpayers are relieved of part of the cost of employing teachers to teach those kids, but not on a dollar-for-dollar basis, as the percentage is so low.
Chris Wendt July 12, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Fair enough. Thanks for responding to my question. In all seriousness, best of luck to your family!
Lorraine DeVita July 12, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Chris, Your number of 5k is over exaggerated - its more like 2.5K/3k almost HALF of what you stated. As to the percentage being so low. I strongly suggest you drive up to Seaford Hs in early AM and see the VAST number of students loading the buses for Private HS's. On the elementary levels the numbers are also growing perhaps not as robustly as they are on the secondary level and THAT is attributed to the fact that parents are financially struggling and are saving the tuition dollars for private HS where they feel that their child will be afforded better opportunities for success that will carry thru to college and beyond. What would be a cost savings to both Seaford and Wantagh if they arent already doing it is to combine the busing costs to the private schools and have the students from both communities meet at one or the other HS's saving BOTH districts several thousands of dollars each. They could easily alternate each semester to insure there is no hardship or inconvience for either Districts Students/Parents. Sept- Wantagh- January Seaford as the schools are relatively close in distance - As for parents talking- you will find in most instances parents who are are onthe same page ie education will talk amongst themselves very rarely do you get the PROS talking to the CONS in depth regarding education because these people are neighbors and friends they probably want to remain on a friendly basis and the topic like politics has differences of opinions.
Lorraine DeVita July 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Chris, i know you are a grandparent of little ones like i am. so i pose a question to you. Would you rather your grandchild be in a class of 23-28 kidnergarteners or in a class of 18-20 kindergarteners? Each child deserves individualized attention in their early learning years BECAUSE it is the footing for the foundation. An remember Aid in Seaford as in most districts is nothing more then an UNTRAINED 2nd person.or second set of hands who was hired to help keep the classroom under control and manageable. They are not and should not be TEACHING students or assisting in the teaching of the students. They are for all intent purposes a glorified SD paid babysitter.Their qualifications when hired have no bearing on where they are assigned you as a previous board member should understand that. case in point we just had two individuals retire from seaford who were classified as STENOGRAPHERS. so when was the last time ANYONE used Stenographic skill sets. No one takes dictation anymore nor does Seaford even possess stenographic equipment ! But two stenographers just retired. So please dont assume an AID in the classroom will insure ANY child the proper education they deserve and require. More manageable yes, better educated NO! 28 kids in ANY classroom in elementary school let alone a kindergarten class is the biggest diservice this district can inflict on its students.
Lorraine DeVita July 12, 2012 at 01:01 PM
@cheap sam thanks for bringing that to lite, seems the UTS and ALL teachers have selective memory and truly need a lesson in comprehending the defiition of words! perhaps dictionarys should be passed out during teacher appreciation week or at the end of the school tyear so they can refresh themselves...
Lorraine DeVita July 12, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Pls note also that as more and more YOUNGER families with kids move into the district the district does have a nominaly declining enrollment. on all levels So where are those kids going? Also pls note more and more kids are being diagnosed with learning deficencies however Seaford has continualy FAILED its AYP on the elementary level and i belive if i am not mistaken also on the secondary levels and needs improvement. Perhaps if their foundation was sounder, classes smaller, issues could be identified sooner and those kids could have received the individualized specialized help they needed quicker ..READING is a BIG HUGE issue in Seaford and where does it start in KINDERGARTEN! Like houses when costs are cut compromising the the foundation and footing it effects EVERY aspect of the house itself.
AlreadyGone July 12, 2012 at 02:29 PM
@Chris. Thank you for your well wishes. You can see my heart is still sometimes in Wantagh/Seaford as I still have family there and still follow what's going on via Patch.
BeeKay July 13, 2012 at 11:05 PM
@AlreadyGone, that is unfortunate. My soon to be 2nd grader had a wonderful experience in kindergarten at the Harbor. His teacher was JK and he was in a class of 18. She did a wonderful job providing a strong foundation, particularly in regards to reading, for my son. This past year in 1st grade he had another terrific experience, this time with KC in a class of 17, and has truly enjoyed his educational experiences thus far. With two more entering the schools in the coming years, my wife and I will continue to be actively involved with our kids' education. The point of my story is that you cannot summarize a school district by the experiences of one class, or one student for that matter. As in any district, at any educational level, experiences will vary from class to class. Hopefully things work out better for you in your relocation.
Lorraine DeVita July 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM
If hiring a teacher is out of the question then i would strongly urge Mr Conboy to be on the phone with EVERY local college that produces Teachers, clamoring for as MANY student teachers as possible to work with the kindergarten teachers in the Manor versus a under educated Teachers Aid . No offense to the aids however you ARE NOT teachers, & for the most part havent had any formal training and if this situation is financial based then the SOLUTION is not for a PAID AID who has no formal educational training bring in an UNPAID student teacher ..... This could also be a great savings on all grade levels. Eliminate PAID AIDS and utilize Student Teachers. I am quite sure the local colleges have a dirth of candidates that could qualify.
Lorraine DeVita July 14, 2012 at 12:30 PM
BeeKay, you and i had this discussion months ago when you challenged me to support the numbers in the classrooms. While i am thrilled you children in the Harbor have such small classizes i wonder if your support and praise for the educational quality of seaford would be as ZEALOUS if YOUR kids were in classrooms of 28 kids ? I at this time INVITE you and ALL Habor parents and the very Active PTA's on all levels to VOCALLY support the parents and students at the Manor . Children will not be getting the attention they deserve and need. This is not an individual school issue this is a quality of education issue and should be addressed by a united front by ALL parents regardless of school or age.
Lorraine DeVita July 14, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Chris , a question that has been niggling at my brain- Seafords ZIP code is 11783 that incorporates parts of a few other SD's. When State funds are allocated are they allocated by zip code or by district ? also arent some wantagh addresses in the Seaford SD. IF true does that effect funding dispersment? and if true why ARE some wantagh addresses in the seaford SD?
BeeKay July 16, 2012 at 05:11 PM
@Lorainne, no, I certainly would not be as "zealous" if my own child were in a class of 28, particularly at the K level. I agree that this is not just a Manor issue, but an issue that any and all residents of the district should be concerned with. As Chris mentioned, it is still early and I am cautiously optimistic that the problem will be addressed with the addition of another section. I truly hope that central admin understands that 28 is too large of a class at the early ed. level, in particular at the K level. With budgetary constraints, I expect 28 to 30 to become quite common at the secondary level, but in my opinion, the early grades of K through 3 should be capped at 24. Let's see how this pans out...
Chris Wendt July 16, 2012 at 05:30 PM
State Aid to schools is allocated by school district (NOT ZIP Code), based on the School District Code people enter on their IT201 NY Tax Returns. There are periodic audits performed on the use or mis-use of School District Codes, especially where Wantagh-Seaford-Levittown intersect. There used to be a problem on one block between Wantagh-Bellmore-Bellmore-Merrick CHSD, but this was resolved by Wantagh annexing the effected homes with state approval. Any occasional shift of a few people is not significant owing to the similarity of incomes across this area, and the fact that these issues are corrected every few years. This residence factor, Combined Wealth Ratio (CWR) is only part of the formula, which includes the most significant RWADA (average daily school attendance) and free & reduced rate meal eligibility, which is very small among our districts.
Lorraine DeVita July 16, 2012 at 06:15 PM
@Beekay & ALL Seaford Elementary Parents- As you ALL know waiting for the HOPE of something to happen in Seaford AFTER a decision is made is like waiting for Santa to come on Easter sunday - Seaford parents from all schools need to show a united front & voice their support for smaller class sizes on the elementary level. Today its the Manor tomorrow it could be the Harbor . In order for HS students to be able to have Critical thinking & inferencial reasoning skills, let alone reading and math skills it STARTS on the elementray level. Everyones rant is a well rounded student when it comes to the HS level. Which i support within reason. However in order to HAVE that well rounded student we need to insure ALL students are fully , adequately and soundly EDUCATIONALY prepared .
Lorraine DeVita July 16, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Any normal rational functional human being will tell you 28 kindergartners in a class or 28 1st graders in a class is NOT educationaly sound.NOR is it condusive to giving these kids the proper foundation. It is NOT a sound management decision to overload & stretch a teachers ability & desire (regardless of how wonderful they are) to insure Their students receive the attention they need. NOR is it educationaly sound nor condusive to entrust TEACHING to a non qualified uncertified well intentioned nice lady from the neighborhood who is bestowed the title and pay grade of Aid. Would YOU send your kid to the uncertifed unqualified neighbor next door to learn how to read or write for thousands of dollars? I think not. HOWEVER These Aids are definitely neccessary on the K level BUT only as a second set of hands and eyes as those little kindergartners are devious, sneaky and curious little things with the attention span of a flea in some cases.and quicker then greased lightening ..lol, However wonderful and kind and warmhearted Aids should NOT to be used as a panacea for the shortcomings and shortsightedness of a district to prioritize EDUCATION vs OTHER things- they are not to be used asband-Aid to cover up bigger issues.
Lorraine DeVita July 16, 2012 at 06:24 PM
If you support Education and smaller class sizes i encourage ALL of you to EMAIL the Seaford Board of Ed, BOe PResdient B, Fagan and the Superintendent Mr Brian Conboy and let them know how you feel. Perhaps they wont listen to 80 parents but they MAY listen to 300 parents or 500 parents from BOTH elementary schools. Pls support EACH OTHER and SUPPORT The STUDENTS . BOE@mail.seaford.k12.ny.us brian.w.fagan@gmail.com bconboy@mail.seaford.k12.ny.us Brian L. Conboy (516) 592-4002
SSteacher July 17, 2012 at 01:21 AM
That is just not true. They lost that pay they had contractually coming to them. Thanks for playing.
AlreadyGone July 17, 2012 at 07:09 PM
When I was researching where to move and schools in other states, I noted that many areas that had year-round school. Mutlitrack year-round school would probably serve these overcrowded districts well. From Wikipedia: >>A multitrack schedule divides students into multiple tracks so that one group goes to school while another group takes vacation.[6] Multitrack schedules reportedly bring many benefits to schools that use them. Some of these schools utilize multiple tracks to aid specific groups of students. Some schools place all grades of bilingual or gifted and talented classes on the same track so that all of these students attend school at the same time. Some of these schools utilize such a schedule for financial reasons: schools in Wake County, N.C., have four tracks in order to accommodate more students without having to build more schools. This school system reports that for every three multitrack schools, one less school must be built.[6]<< For more see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year-round_school
Chris Wendt July 17, 2012 at 08:13 PM
@ Goner...Let's not confuse the issue. The schools are not crowded. The grade levels are unbalanced between buildings resulting in higher kindergarten class size in one school (26) compared to the other (23). The other way of looking at this is there is one too few kindergarten teachers (3) in the school with the higher kindergarten class sizes. Solutions: 1. Wait another month and see if the enrollment actually materializes; if not, problem solved 2. Move a few kids from one school to the other to balance the class sizes uniformly 3. Hire a kindergarten teacher, break out an addiional kindergarten class, reduce the kindergarten class size from 26 to 19, and deal with the parents in the other school who will then be complaining about 23 in each class, and, last but not least, forget about building those cash reserves needed to pay for the next teacher contract (raises).
Chris Wendt July 18, 2012 at 11:26 AM
@ Goner...I read your piece about year-round education (YRE) in Wake County NC. YRE is probably not a viable solution for anything we are confronting on LI, which is experiencing declining enrollment and increasing fixed costs and variable costs in our existing schools. Districts in both counties are closing schools at a record pace, despite the unpopularity of having to do that. However, YRE would also be an unpalatable cultural change, especially on "The Island", where our beaches and waterways are not usable for recreation in the wintertime, unless you are into cod fishing or long walks on a deserted beach.
Lorraine DeVita July 18, 2012 at 01:29 PM
YRE - should not be based on the desireability of vacation activities chris unless you consider teacher time off as the main deciding factor.Most Parents continue to work all yr round so not everyone is taking the summer off to enjoy the beaches nor are they taking extended multi weeks off to enjoy the beaches or boating. Most companies frown on more then a 2 week consequetive vacation request. So your rationale is ill logical. A % of Parents would probably WELCOME having their kids in school for some part of the summer it would reduce their child care costs !
Chris Wendt July 18, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I disagree, with the exception of "a % of parents would welcome having their kids in school for some part of the summer...." However, I think tuition, transportation and materials costs would be more expensive for parents to pay than any offset in child care costs. I see a number of high school kids on the train taking courses in the city for the summer at NYU, FIT, and SVA. i don't think it would be wise to deprive kids of those special enrichment opportunities by implementing YRE. Nor do I worry about that, because YRE is not coming to NY.
AlreadyGone July 18, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I actually don't live in a place with YRE either, I just thought it was an interesting concept for this discussion. (I didn't want to move to an already overcrowded school system.) But you're right, it's not overcrowding I guess, it's just imbalance. I know when I was living in Seaford there was rumblings of creating a system where K - 2 were in 1 bldg and 3 - 5 were in the other. That would probably help this issue. However, I know that the concept was not very popular with residents who may wind up having to juggle 3 kids at 3 different schools.
Chris Wendt July 19, 2012 at 12:56 AM
@ Goner re: "...when I was living in Seaford there was rumblings of creating a system where K - 2 were in 1 bldg and 3 - 5 were in the other. That would probably help this issue. However, I know that the concept was not very popular with residents who may wind up having to juggle 3 kids at 3 different schools." You are describing what is called the Princeton Plan among other names for it. This concept is gaining in both use and popularity around the country. As with any change, there is bound to be resistance, and you identified the most common rallying point against adopting this plan: inconvenience for some parents. However, this plan is in effect in Bellmore, among other LI communities, and has been accepted for both its educational benefits and cost control effects. The chief benefit is optimized class size in every grade level. When parents really stop and consider what is good for their children's education, optimally balanced class size outweighs the inconvenience factor you mentioned.
AlreadyGone July 19, 2012 at 07:05 AM
Chris, I actually LOVED the idea and had hoped it would come to fruition. In addition to the instructional benefit and improved focus of the schools, socially, I felt having 4th and 5th graders on same the buses with full-day kindergarteners was inappropriate. My 5 y.o. daughter got quite an education on that bus. :(
Chris Wendt July 19, 2012 at 10:25 AM
Wow! That is perspective I had not even considered! What an interesting point. Thanks for bringing it up.
Lorraine DeVita July 20, 2012 at 08:13 PM
There are several educationaly and rationaly sound premises to implement the princetown plan especialy in Seaford. The excuse of having several kids in several different schools doesnt hold much water as some parents already have kids in the elementary school, the MS school and the HS. Some evenhave some in Private and some in public. The inconvenience factor is subjective the Educational factor is a proven. It could also conceivably eliminate a traffic issue at the K-2 location as ALL of those students SHOULD be getting bused if for nothing else safety sake. due to their age. therefore it seems likely that the Harbor would be probably a better k-2 location while the manor would be the best location for 3-5. It could also help mitigate the issue of egress at the harbor school as there would not be the vast amount of mommy cars and walkers competeting with buses.
Chris Wendt July 21, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Good point also, Lorraine. Is there any active consideration of this happening in Seaford, if you know?
Lorraine DeVita July 28, 2012 at 01:13 AM
chris, Not to my knowledge , however if there was a time to consider implementing the princeton plan it is now. But like everything else in Seaford it takes years for seaford to make ANY decision to even examine a proposal. - for example, we apprently have a quasi contract on the Ave school, the plans have been explored 113 multi family units however in order for it to go the next step the District needs to hold a public meeting to explain the plan along with the developer then hold a vote where the residents could either approve or disapprove of the plan. And we have heard WHAT exactly on this proposal? The contract was signed several months ago - You had in another post stated these are must have funds.. lol by the time we get them chris IF we get them the entire kindergarten class will be graduating HS! There is NO sense of urgency in this distrct about anything...except possibly finaggling funds for MUCH NEEDED SCORE BOARDS from donors and anything else HS sports related. THAT is the priority for Seaford. Not fixing problems..addressing academic needs .. or FUNDING for education.. a score board instead of those funds possibly going towards education or perhaps even MS sports odd isnt it the timing and the amount one season SHORT of fund rasing the HS comes up with a donor for a score.board. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMm nice work Mr. Athletic Director. et al involved. Take about throwing kids under the bus. but then again thats MHO


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