News and Notes from Principal Goetz

Principal Tammy Goetz

Dear Seward Families:

As you may know by now, our Elementary classrooms are returning to the traditional Montessori model of having 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade together. Specialist classes will remain single grades. Let me explain how I arrived at this decision.

The staff agreed to try two-grade level configurations for three years. In that time, they completed surveys about their experience with teaching two grade levels per classroom. In order to make a decision about our program model, I:

  1. Listened to all E-1 and specialists teachers and listed pros and cons of each model (two-grades per room and three- grades per room).
  2. Reviewed staff survey data with E-1 teachers and specialists.
  3. Reviewed MCA data with E-1 teachers.
  4. In the February Splash, I asked parents to contact me with their feedback.
  5. In February I met with parents at PTA and site council and listened to their feedback.

After careful and thoughtful consideration of evidence and feedback from our learning community, I made the decision to return to 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms. I believe it is in the best interest of our children for the following reasons:

  1. We didn’t get the achievement results we had hoped by only having two grades in a room.
  2. The 1st and 3rd grade combination is problematic from a social-emotional and academic standpoint.
  3. It will be easier to balance classrooms.
  4. The traditional configuration best fits our 3–5 year plan to implement Montessori with fidelity.

I shared with our staff that I will continue to support our Montessori teachers with funds for materials and have Karen Swigart continue (budget permitting) as our Montessori math coach. In addition, it is my hope that the having all of our elementary teachers teaching the same grades will bring further unity to an already great team!

As we classify students in classrooms, we will stick to our balancing policy. Please know that students have many friends across current classrooms due to attending specialist class with their grade level and having multiple classrooms at lunch and recess together. The classification process will be as thoughtful and thorough as possible. Students who are already placed in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade classes will remain in those rooms.

Classroom assignments for 2013–14 will be on your child’s report card in June.

If you have any further questions, please contact me at (612) 668–4950.


Tammy Goetz
Seward Principal