Requesting Class Changes for Your Child

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anjali

Anjali Joshi, Education Editor

With the school year coming to a close, most parents and children have summer adventures on their mind. But, for some, the upcoming school year is already a cause for concern. With a new grade comes a new classroom and a new teacher.

This can bring on anxiety for both parents and children. Just when we feel like we’re getting the hang of things — classroom routines, teaching style, parent-teacher communication preferences, classroom procedures — we’ve got to start all over again!

How are class placements selected?
The class placement process is one that is very carefully and mindfully done. School administration and teachers have placement meetings where they sit down and go down the student list, one student at a time. For each student, the following factors are considered:

  • Student’s individual learning style and best teacher fit
  • Student’s personality and best teacher fit
  • Student’s peers: friends, any past issues
  • Classroom composition: ensure that each classroom has children of diverse set of strengths

Do parents have a say?
As a parent, I know that it’s important that I have a say in this process and voice my concerns. School administration and teachers don’t always have the entire picture. There are critical issues or conflicts — either between students or between parents that has occurred outside of school hours that the staff does not know about. Conversely, some students might ‘click’ with a particular teacher, and, as a parent, you may want to bring this to the attention of the class placement team. As a teacher, I respect and listen to parent input.

I would, however, advise parents to be mindful of timing when comes to this conversation. Do not wait until September to initiate a change. Moving a child around after the start of the school year causes disorder in your child’s classroom and other classrooms around the school. It’s a bit of a domino effect.

When should I talk to the school about my preferences then?
When is the right time to bring class placement preferences to the attention of school? Right now. Class placement meetings take place in June, so providing teachers and administration any valuable insights will ensure the best possible placement for your child.

Does that mean all parents can choose their child’s class placement?
In short, no. Remember, the school wants the best for all the students. As such, it’s important to be reasonable with your request. Asking the school to put your child in a class with his or her best friend is not going to be a high-priority request. It just isn’t feasible for the school to guarantee to accommodate such requests. If your class placement request is one that you believe is critical to your child’s academic success, it is best you make an appointment with the principal or vice principal to discuss your concerns.

Are classroom changes possible mid-year?
You may feel that it is best to ‘test the waters’ before taking the plunge with a particular classroom or teacher. However, a mid-year class change is very unlikely. It is something that school administration will only consider when all other options have been thoroughly explored.

Remember, class lists are very mindfully prepared and mid-year changes can affect the dynamics of other classes, not just your child’s. The general perception is that a class change is a ‘quick fix’ for underlying issues that does not really address the real issues.


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