Students look forward to it all summer — the day they find out their classroom assignment for the next year.
They wait at the mailbox for the letter to be delivered, or they rush up to the school to scan through the list of names taped to the doors.
But how are those lists compiled? Teresa Heiny, director of elementary education for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., said the assignments are anything but random.
Teachers from every grade gather in the spring and look at a list of all the students in that grade. They look at students’ learning styles and their personalities, and they match them to a teacher based on that information.
“We make sure all the kids are spread out so there’s a heterogeneous group,” Heiny said. “We try to make the best match for the child, and that’s basically all there is to it.”
Teachers get to know their students well over the course of a school year, and they learn what a child needs to be successful and excel.
If a child is new to the district, school officials will request transcripts, grades and individualized learning plans from the former school and place the child based on that information. If possible, school officials will reach out to parents about learning styles.
Heiny said it is rare, but parents sometimes have a problem with the classroom assignment.
She usually tells parents to give it time at the start of school — what parents hear at home from their children might be different from what’s actually going on in the classroom.
“We try not to move students after school starts because they bond with the adult right away,” she said.
When students are moved — most often because of added or lost staff due to overall class sizes — the school will contact parents before moving any child.
“We want what’s best for the kids,” she said. “Trust us, we’ve been at this for a while.”