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I’m intrigued by the discussion concerning the relative importance of good 
teachers and class size.  I have attended meetings where research presented 
supported the notion that “what  matters most” is quality of instruction.  
Clearly, one might expect that an excellent teacher with a large class will 
be better than an ineffective teacher with a small class.

However, presenters with whom I have had the opportunity to discuss this 
notion have not said that smaller classes are unimportant.  My experience 
would certainly support the relevance of the number of students per class.  
Of course, there is not a magic number.  For children with certain needs, a 
class of ten can be challenging. In high school classes consisting of 
students who are particularly interested and somewhat gifted in a discipline, 
larger numbers can be managed effectively.

The Moscow District has made important decisions regarding class size.  In 
the mid-eighties, a group of high school teachers organized classes designed 
to help students who were struggling in certain classes.  There was grant 
money to support the effort.  The idea of the study was to focus upon 
different learning styles of these students.  Class sizes were small, and 
there were instructional aides for support.  In the final analysis, it became 
clear that the opportunity to give these students more individual attention 
was as important as individual learning styles.  When the grant expired, the 
superintendent and school board agreed to continue to support the effort.

In addition, there were decisions to keep class size small in the primary 
grades to assure that the children would have important support early.  There 
was an attempt to keep certain English classes small so that teachers might 
give writing assignments more frequently and have time to read them 
critically.  Children have benefited from these practices.

The point I try to make is that decisions have been made that may cost more 
to implement, but are of educational value to the student.  It is important 
to continue to review practices in the schools, and constantly work to 
improve.  If the levy does not pass on April 23, the schools will stay open, 
but they will be diminished.  Please vote yes, and continue to support the 

I recognize that taxpayers feel as though a great deal is being asked in a 
short span of time.  As a community, we need to assess our needs and 
implement a reasonable plan for attaining them.

Shirley Ringo

Shirley Ringo

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