District advertising for teacher

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The Steamboat Springs School District is advertising for a teacher for a combined fourth- and fifth-grade class at Strawberry Park Elementary School.

The extra teaching position is available because an upper-elementary Montessori teacher could not be hired in time for the coming school year.

With an additional fourth- and fifth-grade class, concerns that fifth-grade class sizes were approaching 23 or 24 stud--ents will be alleviated, Sup--erintendent Donna Howell said.

"We can reduce the size of both fourth- and fifth-grade (classes)," she said.

The decision was made last week when Howell and Strawberry Park Elementary School Principal Mark Mac--Hale looked at class-sizes.

Because the district will not have the upper-elementary Montessori program this year, some students in the first and second grades will return to regular classes. There is space in those grades, Howell said.

All third-graders enrolled in the upper-elementary Montessori program will participate in the first- through third-grade Montessori class.

Although the school district is advertising for a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher, the decision not to have an upper-elementary Montessori program will not be final until the fourth- and fifth-grade teacher is hired.

If a qualified, experienced Montessori teacher were to emerge in the coming weeks, the school district might regroup and determine whether parents still were interested in the program.

"That seems very unlikely at this point," Howell said, though she said it is not impossible.

The upper-elementary Montessori position was offered to three candidates, but all declined for various reasons.

When the coming school year begins, work toward finding an upper-elementary Montessori teacher will start early, Howell said. New strategies might be considered this year because the school district wanted to expand the Montessori program, she said.

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