DARIEN — The superintendent has proposed a new policy for class sizes that would cut down the size of classes in elementary schools.

At the Board of Education meeting on Sept. 20, Dr. Dan Brenner noted that in Darien, class sizes for students grow smaller as they get older, which is unusual.

“This is a community that’s been steadfast to keep middle school and high school numbers at 22 or less. Many communities when faced with financial crisis, that’s an easy place to crunch the numbers,” said Brenner. “As we look to each kids and the fundamentals, we want to be able to put them in classes that gives them the opportunity to be taught in individual ways.”

More Information

A look at the current classroom policy in Darien versus Brenner’s proposed policy

Kindergarten and first grade

Current numbers:

Low end: 19

Optimal: 20-22

High end: 23

Proposed:

Low end: 18

Optimal: 20-22

High end: 22

Second and third grades

Current numbers:

Low end: 20

Optimal: 21-24

High end: 25

Proposed:

Low end: 19

Optimal: 20-22

High end: 23

Fourth and fifth grades

Current numbers:

Low end: 21

Optimal: 22-25

High end: 26

Proposed:

Low end: 20

Optimal: 21-23

Proposed: 24

Brenner’s proposal suggested changes in policy for kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms, with a maximum of 22 students in a kindergarten or first grade class leading up to a maximum of 24 in a fifth grade class. Currently, the maximum for kindergarten and first grade is 23 and the maximum for a fifth grade class is 26. The current optimal class size for elementary grades is between 20-25, but the new proposed optimal would be 20-23 in each grade.

Brenner said that the district would have the space to split large classes if need be, should these new guidelines go into effect.

The other board members brought up concerns as to how these new numbers aligned with other numbers in Darien’s Educational Reference Group (ERG), as well as whether or not there would be guidelines for the upper grades.

According to board member Kathrine Stein, there are no current policies on class size for the middle school and large English classes in recent years may make such a policy useful. Other board members said there is a class size policy for the high school, but it needs updating as it’s no longer in use.

Brenner said these numbers would be more in line with others in Darien’s ERG. He is going to add policies for the middle school and high school and present the board with a new proposal next month.

ekayata@hearstmediact.com; @erin_kayata