Anoka-Hennepin schools to tackle growing class sizes
The Anoka-Hennepin School District has built a solid reputation that pulls many families into the state's largest school district.  But, with the exception of kindergarten and first grade, an enrollment explosion has led to swollen classrooms.

"I would say that we're running slightly above the metro average for class size for Anoka–Hennepin," said Anoka-Hennepin School Board Chair Tom Heidemann. "A lot of it has to do with growth. Areas that had corn fields or sod farms are now houses and we don't have schools in those locations."

Most Anoka-Hennepin middle school classrooms have more students compared to others in the Twin Cities metro. It's similar at the high school level, where the district has higher classroom numbers than other metro area schools.

"We have to revisit our space across all of our sites to make sure that our secondary facilities, our elementary sites are the right size for those communities," said Anoka-Hennepin Superintendent David Law.

Law says classroom crowding can impact kids who sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

"The great teachers they have, are the teachers who have built a relationship with them," Law said. "It's hard to build a relationship in a 55–minute period when you've got 40 students to pay attention to."

Teachers also have more challenges when they deal with more students.

"Teachers would say, 'I want to give more attention in my classroom, but with the number of kids I have, I can't pay as much attention,'" said Law.

Eric Nelson, reporting



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