Berkeley Parents Network >
School & Preschool >
My oldest just started kindergarten in Richmond heights and
her class has 32 kids on the roster. Her teacher seems
disorganized, unprepared, and simply too overwhelmed to be
We are willing to move to a better district, but we want to
be sure it is markedly better. I know that the situation is
tough in all the schools, so I was hoping some parents could
tell me whether Lamorinda schools are still keeping to 20
kids per class. Castro Valley seems like another option
(more house for your $), but what is the current class size
I've got 32, how many in yours?
Our daughter attended Kindergarten in an Orinda school last year and I can confirm all of
the K classes had no more than 20. That is due to the generosity of donors to the Orinda
Educational Foundation and the school's parent's club - there is an expectation that all
families donate in order to keep class sizes small in K-3 (as well as provide art, music,
PE, and computer technology).
Paying more but worth it
high 20's. OUSD school.
32 is a terrifying # for kindergarten! I feel for you. We just had our kindergarten
orientation at Sequoia Elementary in Oakland and we will have 22 or 23 in our class
(which surprised me, as I expected at least 26).
new Sequoia mom
We are also in school in Richmond Heights and can sympathize with your concerns. But, you
should also consider that we are only one week in to the school year. The first few weeks
are always chaotic , and your child's teacher may just need to settle into the routine.
Also, you said there were 32 kids on the roster, but did 32 actually show up? Our
experience is that the final class size was 6-7 kids smaller than the roster after the
first few weeks.
If you have other reasons for wanting to move, by all means find a house in a good
district. But if K class size is the only reason you are considering a move, that seems
reactionary. Each year, our child's class size has fluctuated (from 28 on the high end to
18 on the low end) depending on enrollment. If you have the time, you should offer to
volunteer in your child's class to help. Get involved with the school and see if you can
find ways to improve your community school rather than abandon it. If you are at the
school I think you are, there is a small but active PTA that can really use your help.
My final comment is not just directed at you, but at everyone reading this. If you are
unhappy about class sizes, or lack of programs at your public school, I would ask you if
you voted in the last election. If you support public education, please do so with your
vote and your money and your time (by volunteering), not just with your words.
-Public School Champion
We're in Moraga and the class size for kindergarten at our elementary (Camino Pablo) is
20. I was told that is a ''soft'' cap to allow for kids that may come in mid-year or
some other unforeseen addition. Even so, it would only go up by a few spots. The
kindergarten classes are taught by a teacher and an aid.
Yes, Moraga still tries to keep to the 20 kids maximum. I checked last year's school
directory (2011-2012 school year) and for the 3 elementary schools in Moraga, Los Perales
had 3 kindergarten classes with 16 kids in each class, Camino Pablo had 3 K classes with
18, 18, and 19 kids, and Rheem had 3 K classes with 20 kids in each. I would think
Orinda and Lafayette are the same. With all the funding challenges the schools have been
experiencing, our school districts do ask the parents to contribute significantly to make
up the funding shortfall. This year, they are asking the parents of each elementary age
child to contribute $1200. So in that respect, they are able to make up for the shortage
of funds they are getting from the state in a way that many other districts unfortunately
can't. On the other hand, there was a parcel tax measure on the ballot earlier this year
to raise additional funds for the school that we were not able to get passed - we needed
a 2/3 majority, but could only get almost 65%. Hope this information helps!
My son is in Kindergarten in Lafayette. There are 22 in his class. There are six
kindergarten classes. The teacher has been there for awhile and is organized (my
daughter had her a few years ago). She also has the benefit of aide hours, an afternoon
kindergarten teacher (he's in morning - a morning and afternoon teacher partner to help
each other) and a large pool of volunteer parents. It's not perfect, but we feel very
lucky to have our children in schools here. Parents donate a lot of time and money and
it does make a difference.
Our daughter just started at Manzanita SEED. I think they over-enrolled and
expected a lot more kids to not show up to register. They were up near 30 as the
demand for the school has skyrocketed this year. They managed to open a fourth
kindergarten class and now she has 22. Happily surprised at this hidden gem with
lower than average class sizes.
At the first day of Kindergarten, I was shocked to learn that
there are 27 students in my child's class (Montclair
Elementary). I was under the impression that there was a state-
mandated cap on class size in the first few grades--I thought it
was 15. Was I totally wrong, or was the cap done away with
I'm concerned, and wondering about how this compares to private
schools. I guess private schools vary widely in class size, but
is there any kind of average? Are most of them smaller for this
age group? Are you private-school folk horrified at the idea of
27 Kindergarten! ers, or is it about the same for you?
I'm second guessing my decision to give this school a try--I had
heard it was good, but this seems crazy...
We're in the same boat as you are. Our kids must be in the same class.
pretty shocked, too, to say the least, especially since the other 2 K
classes have 20
kids each. It's our understanding that the Class Size Reduction
program, which was
started in 1998, gives incentive bonus money if K-3 classes hit the
magic number of
20. Go over that and you don't get the money. We were told that every
principal designates an ''overflow'' class. It's the PM class this
year. It's a bummer
and a disappointment. I wish we had had a head's up about this BEFORE
the first day
of school. I think if it had been communicated to us and not sprung on
would've felt a bit better about the situation. For us, it's been a
pretty odd first week
of Kindergarten. On a high note, I don't know about your child, but
expressed happiness and excitement about being a kindergartner and
she's learned the first week.
We have friends starting at St. Paul's this year and their K classes
are 18 students
each with 2 full time teachers in the classroom.
hoping for the best...
Yikes ! 27 sounds like an awful lot. Is there more than 1
teacher in the classroom ? Maybe that makes up for the
difference. We have our Kindergartener enrolled at a private
school with 15 kids in the classroom. Some parents were
disappointed that the number of students was so large ! But, we
are paying lots of $$$ .... ask around at the school and maybe
the kids will be put in smaller groups, etc. to help accomodate
the large class size. Also, a lot of kids means that your child
will have lots of different social interactions and that could be
a really good thing.
There is no state-mandated maximum class size, but there ARE
state finacnial incentives for keeping average class size at or
below 20 (never 15) in K-3rd grade. However, there are several
reasons not all schools participate: the ''incentives'' generally
won't cover all of the added coast of the smaller classes; any
subsidized class size reduction must be done first in the first
grade, and only then can K or 2nd be included, so some districts
participate only at grades 1, or 1 and 2; there isn't always
enough space, especially if your school provides full-day
kindergarten (some schools reduce K class size, but have only
half-day K, so two classes fit into the space of one. I'm not
sure if districts can selectively provide smaller classes in some
schools and not others, or if they have to do ALL district
schools the same way at the same time. You might check with the
principal, and parents of kids in grades 1 and 2 to see if there
is class-size reduction in place at any grade level.
You didn't say how many teachers are in the room. Often in California,
get around the class size mandate by putting two teachers in a room,
because they just don't have the room space to do 15 - 20 kids per
can't comment on how this works for kids, since I don't have any in the
schools system yet.
There is a class size of 27 at Crocker too this year. The
class size in public is usually limited to 20, not 15. I was
just told by a teacher that public schools are required to
limit class size to 20 for 1-3rd grade and doesn't include
Kindergarten because K isn't required by law for a child to
attend. Didn't know that. They do try to limit K to 20 anyway
and I think they get funding incentives to do so, but they
don't have to. I don't have a personal opinion yet because
mine just started, and his class has 22.
fellow K mom
SF Class size for Kindergarten is capped at 20 kids per class.
My children go to public school and I love that this is their
maximum size class up until 4th grade. I did notice that the
private schools I toured did not have any size limitations, and
therefore many ranged in the 25 - 30 per classroom size. But
another thing to note, is that even if the class is that large,
you need to consider if there are any student teachers or other
assistants available too. This always helps. Good luck.
My son's private kindergarten has 20 students and 2 teachers. When I
looked at kindergartens last year 15-20 students seemed the norm. The
K-3 cap (of 20 students) feel victim to the budget crisis in many
although there are many districts that have approved a special tax to
keep class size low. I certainly agree with you 27 students (with one
teacher) is WAY too many.
Mom of a kindergartener
this page was last updated: Oct 14, 2012
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network