Class Placement for the 2014-2015 School Year


Every Spring the faulty and staff at Ben-Hem engage in the process of creating classes for the coming school year. Developing and balancing our classrooms is a major step in preparing for each school year. Classroom composition plays an important role in the success of every school year and, therefore, we invest a great deal of time and energy into the placement process.

Class placement begins in April and extends through the last day of the school year. Classroom teachers, guidance counselors, specialists, special educators and administrators work collaboratively to ensure the very best composition of classes for the coming years. Parents participate in this process by submitting letters that provide specific information about the learning style and needs of their child or children. Parent input is valued and given consideration throughout a rigorous placement procedure.

Every child is unique and brings specific needs and characteristics to the classroom. Creating balanced classrooms that maximize the experience and learning of all students is a top priority for Ben-Hem faculty. To facilitate effective balancing, many variables and factors are considered when creating the classes. The following list provides an overview of the criteria by which every proposed class list is reviewed and revised throughout the process.

  • Kindergarten screening results (Kindergarten placements only)
  • Academic Needs
  • Work Habits and Study Skills
  • Home/Family/Developmental Variables
  • Child Study Referrals/Intervention
  • Specialized Educational Services IEP (Individual Education Plan)
  • 504 Accommodation Plan
  • Guidance services
  • Medical needs and allergies
  • Behavioral needs
  • Social/Emotional needs

Guidelines for Parent Participation

Parents who wish to participate in the class placement process may do so by submitting a letter to Ian Kelly by May 1st of each school year. The following paragraph is intended to support parents in crafting letters that will support placement teams as they strive to ensure the best placement for every student.

The overarching goal of the placement process is to create classes that support the learning and well-being of all students. Given that this is a child-centered process, parent letters should focus on providing the placement team with specific information pertaining to their children as opposed to specific teachers. Requests for specific teachers will not be considered during the placement process. The balancing criteria referenced in the previous section are great places to start when thinking about what you would like to share. Parents hold critical information about their children that broadens the perspective of class placement teams. Every so often, circumstances or needs extend beyond those listed above. Parents are encouraged to share this information as well. Robust information about children supports effective placement decisions.


Parking Lot Update

Posted by Ian P. Kelly, M.Ed.

There has been a lot of discussion lately focusing on how to improve safety and convenience in our parking lot. In my last post I wrote about the role of parents in making sure the lot is safe and friendly for everyone. Since writing that post I have had a number of meetings with town officials to discuss improvements that would alleviate parking problems and increase safety in the lot.

Last week I met with our facilities manager Paul Comerford to continue our discussions about how best to manage traffic and safety in the lot.  We had a great meeting and came up with a few options that would add parking,  enhance traffic flow, and support safety. Following up on that meeting, Mr. Gatto met yesterday with a broad group of town officials and administrators. Our superintendent Dr. Sanchioni, business manager Bill Hurley, and facilities director Paul Comerford joined representatives from the Natick Police and Fire Departments to review ideas and discuss plans for the future. Beyond the continued focus on solutions, the meeting provided a great opportunity for representatives from across the Natick community to become familiar with the challenges that Ben-Hem faces. As we move forward with possible solutions I will continue to communicate and share our progress.