From the Principal's Desk




From the Principal's Desk  

Dear Parent(s),


At this time we anticipate having 14 classroom teachers for the 2013-2014 school year. Since several of our cohorts have about 50 students, we are waiting for more accurate data regarding families leaving and entering our school before assigning teachers to classrooms. If your children will not be returning to Ward School in the fall, please contact us immediately. Also inform us if you know of any families moving into our community. This information will help us to make the best use of our resources for the coming year.


By today, May 3, you should have received a copy of this letter with an attached optional form. If you feel you have information to add to the placement process, be sure it is received in school by May 13. We need to adhere strictly to this deadline to efficiently do our job in a fair and thorough manner.


The staff will soon begin the process of configuring classrooms for next year. My hope is to provide you with accurate information so that we can work together to minimize anxiety and continue to foster a climate of respect and fairness around this process. The actual process is based on these fundamental ideas and facts.

  • Parents cannot choose their child's teacher by making suggestions to the teacher/principal.
  • We look carefully at all children in making decisions. Parents do not have to make an appointment with the principal or their child's teacher to be given consideration during the placement process.
  • The team does not refer to information from placement letters written in past years.

Our goal is to create balanced classes composed of children who can work together educationally and socially. We believe that children learn from each other as well as from their teachers, and that heterogeneous classes balanced with regard to cognitive, social, and emotional development, skill acquisition, and gender promote the best learning environment for all children. To achieve this, we solicit information from staff who know students in a variety of settings.


Here is what you can do:

We all need to understand that class placement decisions are the responsibility of the child's teachers and the principal. Your child's present teacher has a year's worth of current, rich information and insight concerning how each child works best in school. This information, combined with data from specialists, provides the basis for class placement. This is not a departure from our usual process; it is our attempt for you to let us do our job as fairly as possible.


If you believe you have additional input that will be helpful to the team, please complete the optional form that will be sent home with your child. As in the past, we will try to honor requests for friendships; however, we also believe that children should have the opportunity to develop new relationships with other classmates. If you feel there are important friendships you would like us to consider, you may share this information by indicating at least three friends. Again, we will do our best to honor at least one friendship.


In fairness to everyone, please observe these guidelines:

Because of the demands of time and equity issues, I will not be meeting with parents individually about the placement of students. If there are some circumstances that you think I need to know, please write a separate letter marked "Confidential".


Parents should not talk to teachers about the placement of students. Teachers have been instructed not to have conversations with parents about placement for the coming year.

These conversations place inappropriate and undue expectations on teachers and impact negatively on the fairness of the placement procedure.


Do not request a particular teacher by name or description.


In an effort to ensure a smooth transition, at the end of the school year we will conduct a step up day when all students from each grade level visit with all teachers for the next grade level. A class list will be emailed home at the end of August. This practice allows children to separate from their current teacher appropriately.


All forms and letters must be received by Monday, May 13, to be considered as part of the placement process. Late letters cannot be considered.


I ask that you trust us to use our knowledge of your child to provide a strong educational experience for all students. Placement is a very intricate and thoughtful process that elicits input from many people who have in-depth knowledge of all of our students. An enormous amount of energy goes into this important task. Therefore, once assignments have been made, they are final. Placement letters will go out district-wide in late August. I believe that by our working closely together and communicating in an honest and direct way, we will gain the information needed to make the best decisions for all students.


Audrey Parad Peller
John Ward Elementary School
10 Dolphin Road
Newton Centre, MA 02459