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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Is superintendent Vitti pumping a disproportionate amount of resources into the Grasp Academy? (rough draft)

The Grasp academy is a school just for kids with dyslexia and its related disabilities. Superintendent Vitti and one of his children have dyslexia so I think it is fair it say his involvement is personal.
Now let’s look at the numbers.

According to the Times Union there are 250 kids there.  If you go to the Grasp Academy web-site there are sixteen teachers which puts the student teacher ratio at 15.625 to one, which is good but hardly remarkable.

Though the Academy also has six ESE/VE teachers to assist the classroom teachers which drops the ration down to 11 and a third to one. Now we can roll our eyes a little bit.

The Grasp Academy has 2 guidance counselors for 250 kids and that is incredible. Most schools have a ratio of 550-600 to one, not 125 to one. Now some of you might be thinking one counselor for middle school and one for elementary school. Well at my school we have 160 or so kids and one guidance counselor and our grades go from 6-12 and beyond.

The grasp academy also has its own dedicated art, music and PE teachers for 250 kids. I asked a friend at an elementary school with six hundred kids how many of above they had and they told me one of each. 3 for 250 at the Grasp Academy, 3 for 600 at the elementary school.   

The school also has nine paraprofessionals and three reading interventionists which blows other larger schools out of the water and if we include resource teachers and reading interventionists into the student teacher ration now we are at little over 8 to one and the temperature of your blood should be starting to go up.

Now some of you might ask aren’t these disabled kids and don’t we spend more to educate them so they can have extra resources and smaller class sizes? The state doesn’t recognize dyslexia as a disability but it’s my bet most of the kids there are either designated having varying exceptionalities or come with 504 plans which would bring in a little bit more money, a little bit, not a ton, and certainly not 8-1 or two guidance counselors money.

At my school which is a center school for profoundly disabled children all of which have high matrix numbers, the state’s funding formula, there are fourteen classroom teachers, five resource teachers and two support teachers and as I mentioned just one guidance counselor. That gives us a classroom average of almost 11 and a half to one which drops to 7.6 to one when we factor in support and resource teachers.

The same type of kids at my school who go to Ed White are in classes that are 15-17 to one and they have a designated PE teacher.

Now might the Grasp Academy have other sources of money? Sure it’s possible but nothing was mentioned in a recent Times Union article and nobody there will return my e-mails.

This is the bottom line, shame on us as a society for ignoring the plight of so many children with dyslexia for so long and kudos to the district for finally taking steps to help them but you know who also needs extra resources? Children who don’t have the same address as the superintendent. Why are their needs going unmet?

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