Districts find ‘best fit’ for homeroom makeup

On Monday, some students will file into homeroom for the first roll call of the year.

They’ll find themselves in a room of other children. But by what system were they all put together?

Area school officials said it’s pretty simple to assign children to homerooms.

At Hollidaysburg Area Foot of Ten Elementary School, Principal Brian Keagy starts by dividing the number of students by teachers in a grade level.

“We do take requests for certain teachers, and we try to honor those,” Keagy said.

Keagy also takes past conflicts between individual children into account.

And lastly, Keagy attempts to achieve a balance of girls and boys in a classroom.

Students in third grade begin to be grouped by ability, and homeroom is not a place where students stay all day, he said.

Claysburg-Kimmel School District Superintendent Darren McLaurin outlined a similar process.

“There is no easy-to-follow formula when it comes to scheduling — there are just too many factors,” he wrote in an email.

“We employ a team process to determine the best fit for students for school scheduling. Items we consider include student data, student temperament, gender balance, class size and teacher recommendation all while incorporating some flexibility along the way.”

At Altoona Area, homeroom assignments at the secondary level are primarily alphabetical, according to Altoona Area Community Relations Director Paula Foreman. Grades 3-6 are similarly departmentalized because they move to a variety of teachers throughout the day and homeroom is more of an attendance period, she said.

“At the elementary level, homeroom and teacher assignment is generally random,” Foreman said. “In grades kindergarten through second grade, there is collaboration between the principal, teacher and counselor to ensure that the needs of all students are met.”

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.