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Multiage Classroom at Albemarle County School Seeing Success

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Multiage classroom at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School Multiage classroom at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School
Multiage classroom at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School Multiage classroom at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School
Multiage classroom at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School Multiage classroom at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School
Agnor-Hurt Elementary School Agnor-Hurt Elementary School
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Public schools in Albemarle County are out for summer. Tuesday was the last day of class for students, but dozens of kids are already on a waitlist to get into a classroom next school year.

During last summer break, the county built an expansion at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School (AHES) for its new multiage classroom.

“To me, this is a more natural way to learn,” said Michael Thornton, who is finishing the first year teaching in the multiage classroom program.

The pilot program put about 120 kindergarten through 5th grade students together in one big room. The space is designed to encourage creativity and collaboration.

“The ultimate goal is that each kid comes to school and that they are able to learn the exact way they need to,” Thornton said.

“The teachers have worked diligently to ensure they're meeting every child's needs, and actually exceeding the realm of their learning possibilities,” said AHES principal Michele Castner.

Castner says early test results show significant improvement across the school. “You see increased student engagement when you see strong relationships - strong relationships with teachers, strong relationships with the community - and then giving children choice,” said the principal.

Alyson O'Sullivan chose to place her 1st-grade son and kindergarten-age daughter in the multiage classroom.

“I think we were a little overwhelmed at having that many kids in different grade levels and whether or not it was going to be the right kind of structured environment for our kids to learn in,” she said.

O’Sullivan credits the program with allowing children to learn at their own pace, instead of by a grade-level.

“Every day they woke up wanting to go to school and excited about it, and never ever tried to stay home,” said O’Sullivan.

Forty to 50 students are on a waitlist for the multiage classroom next school year.

The principal of Agnor-Hurt Elementary School is asking the county to knock down a few more walls in the building to expand the program.

Red Hill and Yancey elementary schools are also doing multiage classes.

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