Multiage still on the table

There would be extra training costs, roughly estimated at $100,000, to effectively implement a multiage classroom initiative, Tebbano said. Most new teachers don't receive significant training in multiage teaching in college anymore.

"We really don't know where the trainers are anymore. The movement has died away in the last few years," Tebbano said.

Tebbano said the committee would recommend that multiage be terminated if it could not be adequately funded.

One unexpected remark from teachers was the difficulty a mixed classroom could present in preparing students for state testing or other grade-specific activities. Sometimes the grades have to be separated to study with a straight grade classroom, and this can cause headaches for teachers.

Board of Education President James Dering noted that BC students routinely score high on standardized tests.

"Is it really a concern that we have assessment issues when we're doing so well?" he asked.

Other board members said the issue has been clouded by misinformation, and they are working to make a decision that's best for everyone.

"I had a daughter in a multiage classroom, she seemed to survive, she went on to a top college and she's doing very well," said board member Laura Bierman. "I just think that some people forget that we're parents as well."

Members of the public expressed varied opinions of the findings, but most seemed appreciative that the district had taken up the issue. Resident Nancy Conway urged the school board to especially weigh the testimony of teachers in any decision.

"I used to be against multiage, but the more I see teachers willing to step up and say the difficulties they have with a multiage classroomand see you willing to listen, the more I think you'll make the right decision," she said.

Others said that while they aren't against multiage classrooms, they don't want to see them implemented as an afterthought or simply to meet a bottom line.

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