Hillsboro parent concerned about school district's policy of ble - KPTV - FOX 12

Hillsboro parent concerned about school district's policy of blended classrooms

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A Hillsboro parent is unhappy about the school district's policy of blended classrooms, made up of students from two different grades.

George Garcia said he found out this year his son Aryel, a third grader, had been placed in a classroom with six other third graders, and 20 second graders.

"He wanted to know if he'd been held back," said Garcia.

Blended classrooms have been used for years by school districts around the state to deal with uneven enrollment, and limited classroom space.

According to the Oregon Department of Education, nearly 47,000 students were educated in blended classrooms during the 2014-15 school year.

Arcema Tovar, Elementary Coordinator of Teaching and Learning for the Hillsboro School District said there are currently 25 blended classrooms spread across 36 schools in the district.

"If we have 15 kids or 10 kids of a certain grade, and 10 of the next grade, then it's a perfect blend to create a split class," said Tovar. "Teachers can teach whole class lessons, and then differentiate in small groups to meet the needs of the students."

Tovar said test scores indicate students who learn in blended classes do just as well as those in traditional classrooms.

Garcia, though, said his son seems uncomfortable with the situation. He asked the district to put his son into a regular classroom, but said he was told it would not be possible.

"Next year, when he goes to fourth grade, if they say your son is behind, then is that my fault, or is it going to be their fault," said Garcia.

Tovar said a student can be moved out of a blended classroom at a parent's request, but only if there is room in another class.

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