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Sheila Rivers

What type of requests are you referring to?

Scott Mato

Teacher requests are a slippery slope. Teachers often want you to take a "hard line" and not accept any requests because it is fair and just, even though some teachers themselves make requests, and some teachers secretly "make deals" with parents whom they know for whatever reasons. If you do take a "hard line," you run a high risk that parents will be disgruntled and, rather than discuss it with you personally, they will sound off in the community and do end runs on the chain of command.

My guidance counselor and I have reached a compromise that works for us, our teachers, and for our school community. Towards the end of April, when we have end-of-the-year data, we send a letter home to parents discouraging requests, however, if they can provide us a solid rationale in writing supporting their request, we will consider it. We tell them straight up there are no guarantees. It works well.

Our teachers provide academic and behavioral input. A committee of administrators, guidance, reading specialists, and learning support people work together to create class lists that are balanced in as many ways as possible. Like every school, we have registrations and withdrawals over the summer and into the first week in school. By not guaranteeing request, we give ourselves the freedom to adjust class lists as close to the beginning of school as possible. We distribute the class lists to teachers 2 weeks before school,and to parents about one week before school.

Over the past two years, we have almost 50% fewer requests mostly because they have to provide a rationale and put it in writing. Plus, we have been able to honor all valid requests.

Dave Sherman

I do not accept requests for specific teachers. In the spring I send out a form that parents may complete describing their child's best learning styles (I call it the Goals/Concerns form). If they ask for a teacher, I send the form back home with a blank one. I WILL accept it when a parent asks NOT to have a teacher for a child. I also will accept friendship requests, but I make it very clear that there are no guarantees. In my community, I need to be firm with these rules, or the parents will take advantage.

I build the classes by hand but I work closely with the teachers once the first drafts are built. This is one aspect of our jobs where it is impossible to make everyone happy. Go with your gut instincts.

Ruth Nettelhorst

At our school, parents can tell their child's current teacher who they would like. The teachers place the children in the next grade level based upon where they think the child will do best, giving heed to requests as much as we can. We balance the classes between boys and girls, high, mediums, and lows, separate for behavior when we can, and balance the behavior problems between teachers.

The "party line" is that the teachers make recommendations, but the principal has the final say. This has worked very well for our school for the last few years since we have gone back to traditional schedule.

Our school has high parent input and is a desirable school. If we did formal requests, we'd have a line longer than the one waiting for the next Harry Potter premier.

This is a K-5 school. We are a total title one school, hopefully not going into our second year of program improvement.


If teachers are requested, they must list 3 that they would prefer and understand that it not guaranteed. One teacher name is not accepted. (We have 6-7 per grade level in K-5.) We are a rural school of about 1850 students K-12.


Good question. Here's an idea. If class size is 30, choose 25 or so slots the normal way. If Sally is placed in classroom A, and parent wants classroom B, then she goes in the lottery.

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