Students in first and second grades at Warren School will be taught in a multi-age classroom this coming school year.

The decision was made by Region 6 Superintendent of Schools Ed Drapp in response to declining student enrollment and to economic realities.

The class will consist of 10 first-graders and eight second-graders.

Drapp said Region 6 has adopted multi-age classes "purely" as an educational strategy to "optimize" class sizes.

Multi-age classrooms will be considered on a case-by-case basis. There is no plan to convert all classrooms in the region, Drapp said.

Warren parents were given the option of sending their children to a single-grade classroom at another school within the district.

Those alternatives would be James Morris School in Morris or

Goshen Center School.

"We saw some very good preliminary results in implementing multi-age classes at James Morris School," Drapp said. "I believe we can deliver the same or better education -- academic, social, emotional -- in a multi-age setting as we can in a single-age setting."

That said, Drapp added the multi-age class setting is not a "panacea." Some students would continue to need additional support and that support will continue to be provided.

"The teacher is committed to making this work," Drapp said. "She will be starting all students at the appropriate level and seeing they progress as appropriate."

Enrollment decline in Region 6 has been more rapid than had been projected.

There has been a 28 percent decrease in kindergarten through sixth-grade elementary students in the past six years -- a decrease from 537 to 393 students over the six years.

School regions and districts throughout the area are grappling with declining enrollment and increasing per student cost.

Region 12 will vote in the fall on consolidating grades K-5 in one school facility.

New Milford schools could soon close one of the town's three elementary schools.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322