West Belden uses multi-age classrooms to help meet the unique needs of each learner. The elementary school is currently set up with two multi-age classroom configurations: 1st-3rd grade and 4th-5th grade. As learners have strengths in some areas, and challenges in others, multi-age classrooms provide a wider range of resources, such as additional teachers, peers, and learning centers. These resources offer a better fit than those normally found in more traditional, single-grade classrooms.
Multi-age classrooms enable improvement in both teaching and learning at West Belden. Combining students in multiple grades allows students the ability to move faster or slower in individual subjects. It also enables improved learning opportunities like spiraled curriculum and peer-to-peer learning, among others. Since teachers work in content teams across grade levels they have access to more resources to meet the differentiated needs of each student. Combining grade levels also enables West Belden to improve its instructional practices through specialized professional development and cross-curricular planning.