Tebbano addresses Clarksville classrooms

Bethlehem Superintendent Michael Tebbano spoke up about the recent scuttlebutt over enrollment and class size at Clarkesville Elementary that has some parents talking.

Tebbano said not only does Bethlehem have a long tradition of multi-age classrooms he's a product of a multi-age education himself.

Multi-aged classrooms are not unique to Bethlehem and are not unique to Clarksville. I want to clear the air because there's a lot of misinformation out there," Tebbano said. "The main concern is that they're saying multiage classes are a substandard form of education and they couldn't be further from the truth. That notion is an insult to all of the people who have received a multi-age education.

"I was in a multi-aged class," he said.

The "they" that Tebbano referred to is a group of parents who are dissatisfied with the low enrollment at Clarksville and the prospect or having multi-age classrooms, and they are pointing to the new Eagle Elementary School as part of the problem. Martin

Gordinier wrote a letter The Spotlight editor on Wednesday, June 10, and also published similar material on the Times Union Web site about the matter.

"Due to miscalculations in the enrollment estimates at Clarksville Elementary Tebbano and the School Board have recently suggested that the current kindergarten class be merged next year with the class above or below," Gordinier wrote, describing the group to be merged as the "Lost Children."

"So called mixed-age classes are surprisingly common in the Bethlehem Central School District and are fueled by budgetary concerns," Gordinier worte. "What is unprecedented this time around is the highly probable plan that this group of students will be mixed-age for all of their elementary years."

Gordinier further contends that merging kindergarten and first grade at Clarksville would leave the kids "discriminated against in terms of educational quality based on redistricting mishaps."

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