6400 - Optimum Class Size

Policy 6400 Optimum Class Size title box

It is the policy of the Boards of Directors of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, Bennington School District, Inc., Mount Anthony Union School District, North Bennington Graded School District, Pownal School District, Shaftsbury School District, and Woodford School District to provide all students a free and appropriate education in a safe environment conducive to learning. To this end, it is incumbent on schools to insure class sizes are such that educational goals can be met while also meeting relevant safety standards and staying within budgetary constraints. Class size shall not be the sole factor in determining possible school closures. It is the specific goal of this policy to establish criteria to optimize class sizes with respect to the above considerations.

Class size is defined as the ratio of the number of students in a classroom, lab, or other academic setting to the number of teachers present. All class sizes shall be consistent with safe staffing patterns; paraeducators who are generally assigned to a given classroom will be included in the student-teacher ratio, but those assigned to specific students will not.

To facilitate effective teaching, the optimum class size will be determined by the Superintendent or his/her designee, usually the Principal of a given school. Criteria to be used to establish optimum class size include:
  1. Recommendations of the Vermont Education Quality Standards – Section 2120. 8.1.2;
  2. Relevant and current recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code 101;
  3. The impact of student-teacher ratios on instructional practice and effectiveness;
  4. For grades 7-12, the establishment of optimum class sizes shall take into account proficiency based graduation requirements and the use of flexible pathways for graduation;
  5. Educational quality standards and budgetary constraints that are particular to a given class or course; if the enrollment in such a class or course exceeds or falls below the applicable quality standard, a review by the Superintendent or his/her designee will be conducted.


Vermont Education Quality Standards
Vermont Department of Education, State Board of Education Manual Of Rules and Practices, §2378
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code 101

Policy 6400 warning and adoption dates

Administrative Regulations for policy #6400:

The NFPA Life Safety Code 101, table recommends twenty (20) net square feet per person and 50 net square feet for shops, laboratories and similar vocational rooms to assure adequate egress. The code allows for modification from the specified square footage if necessary aisles and exits are provided (NFPA Section ]

At the elementary level, classes in grades K-3, when taken together, shall average fewer than 20 students per teacher. In grades 4-12, when taken together, classes shall average fewer than 25 students per teacher.

At the secondary level, the total class rolls of an English language arts teacher shall not exceed 100 students. In other disciplines, class rolls shall not average more than 150 students per teacher, except where the specific nature of the teacher’s assignment, such as in certain art, music or physical education programs, is plainly adaptable to the teaching of greater numbers of students while meeting the educational goals of the program.