Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Oxford’s Future Second-Graders will Have Two Teachers

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

Construction continues on the new Central Elementary School that will be open in August for first and second grade.
Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

Second-grade students at the new Central Elementary School this August may have to bring two apples to school for their teachers.

On Monday, at the Oxford School District Board of Trustees’ regular meeting, Oxford Elementary Principal Cindy Bigham spoke to the board to get their blessing on departmentalizing second grade in the 2020-2021 school year.

Currently, kindergarten through second-grade students have the same teacher all school day for all academic subject areas. Once students reach the third grade and attend Della Davidson Elementary, they have two teachers and two classrooms for academics – one for English and social studies and another for math and science.

Bigham said research has shown that the self-contained classroom models are no longer meeting the needs of student learning.

“We do have some data in our district,” she said. “Six years ago, third grade at Della Davidson became departmentalized and since then, the school has been recognized consistently as one of the top 10 schools in the state of Mississippi.”

Bigham said she understands some parents of second-graders will have concerns that students may not develop nurturing relationships having two teachers.

“We have a staff who has embraced the concept of the importance of relationships and will make sure it’s a top priority,” she said.

Having two academic teachers, with each putting their focus on two subjects, will help second-graders with the adjustment going into Della Davidson when they reach the third grade and better prepare them for the third-grade state tests, according to Bigham.

“I think the transition into the new building sets up a great opportunity for this change,” Bigham said. “This is something we know a lot of schools around the state are not doing, we feel our students are capable of handling it … I truly feel this is what is best for the students.”

The board members made no objections to the change.