District schools exceed state class size averages

By MELISSA DIPENTO

Lenape High School averaged 40 percent higher than the state average in total class size. The school averages about 26 students per class, while the state average is 18.2, according to the New Jersey Department of Education School Report Card released on Tuesday.

Carol Birnbohm, Assistant Superintendent of the Lenape Regional High School District, said the district would like to see the class size numbers come down in the future.

“Certainly, the state average would be ideal for all classes,” Birnbohm said. “It’s a direct result of a failed budget and reduced state aid.

The impact a larger class size has on students, Birnbohm said, is a less personalized learning environment.

“It lessens individualized instruction and feedback from teachers may be delayed,” Birnbohm said.

Birnbohm said the district plans to hold additional professional development sessions to help teachers with individualized instruction.

Statewide, the average classroom size for fifth to eighth grade is 18.2 students. Mt. Laurel’s Hartford School averaged near 22 students per classroom. Harrington Middle School averaged about 20 students per class.

Mt. Laurel Schools Superintendent Antoinette Rath said sometimes the higher class sizes are a result of scheduling. Rath said students often pick the same elective classes, increasing the amount of students per class.

“We monitor our class sizes seriously. We believe lower is better than higher for students for efficiency purposes, but sometimes it happens,” Rath said.

To view your child’s School Report Card, visit http://education.state.nj.us/rc/rc10/index.html.