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Elementary School: Combo Class

This Administrative Procedure outlines the process and requirements for creating elementary school combination classes within Albuquerque Public Schools (APS).

APS will maintain a reasonable enrollment figure in each elementary classroom so that all students receive appropriate instruction, attention, and assistance.

An elementary combination class is formed when students from two consecutive grades are placed in a single classroom, designed to optimize resources, and meet the educational needs of students under the supervision of one teacher. Students in combination classes retain their respective grade-level assignments and receive appropriate grade-specific curriculum aligned to grade level standards while maintaining high-quality instruction. 

School site administration will carefully consider staffing  combination classes to ensure that combination class teachers are equipped to meet the diverse needs of the students. Factors such as teacher experience, teaching style, subject expertise, flexibility, and the ability to manage a mixed-age group will be considered.

Necessity for Combination Classes

  • Compliance with state law which limits class sizes at different grade levels 
  • To equalize class size and avoid overcrowding
  • To accommodate school growth

Parent/Guardian Notification:

Step 1:

Parents/guardians will be notified in writing if their student will be impacted by the need to create or dissolve a classroom. These parents/guardians will have the opportunity to voluntarily place their student in the new classroom by completing and submitting the written parent/guardian volunteer form to the school office by the specified deadline. After the deadline has passed, school administrators will collaborate with classroom teachers to select students to be assigned to combination classrooms.

Step 2:

Parents/guardians will be notified in writing if their student was selected to move to the new class to bring class sizes in compliance with state requirements. This written notification will provide parents/guardians with the name of the classroom teacher and the date the class will officially start.

Grouping Students in an Elementary Combination Class

The school principal will evaluate the total school enrollment when configuring grade-level assignments. All classes - combination and single grade level - are heterogeneously grouped, consisting of students of varying ages, abilities, and achievement, as well as at different stages of physical, social, and emotional development. Within each class, students may be grouped and regrouped to meet individual needs, interests, and learning styles or to capitalize on individual and group strengths. 

Teachers and administrators will collaborate to select students to be assigned to combination classrooms. Recommendations from teachers, parents/guardians, and support staff will be considered during the creation of combination classes. Placement criteria is based on:

  • Student’s academic success
  • Student’s ability to work both responsibly and independently 
  • Student’s ability to work cooperatively with other students
  • Prior teacher’s recommendations

Efforts will be made to place all students in classrooms where they will succeed and have access to a high-quality education program. Mastering grade-level standards, achieving personal excellence, and becoming responsible decision-makers are goals for all students. Opportunities for both academic and social enrichment are an integral part of the combination classroom.

Instruction in a Combination Classroom

The New Mexico Adopted Content Standards are the foundation of all grade-level instruction. In the basic skill areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics, students are grouped according to skill levels using grade-level high-quality instructional materials. Students in combination classes will have access to books, materials, and other resources regularly designated for both grade levels but will receive grade-level instruction. Instructional strategies in combination classes include whole class, small group, and/or individualized instruction. Teachers carefully select appropriate instructional groupings, teaching methods, and materials for their students informed by thorough ongoing formative assessments. All students have opportunities to extend their learning based on individual abilities and achievements. 

Parent Support

School staff will encourage parents to participate in school events, scheduled conferences and become familiar with the instructional programs. School staff will encourage participating parents and students to take pride in their classroom and to take advantage of the unique opportunities available only to those students in combination classrooms. 

Redistribution of students:

All class schedules are contingent on the State of New Mexico “Class Size Averaging Bill” which mandates class sizes in public schools and the 20 day count. Students may need to be redistributed to another class to bring class sizes in compliance with state requirements.


Administrative Position:

  • Deputy Superintendent for Leadership and Learning
  • Chief of Schools
  • Chief of Human Resources and Legal Support Services
  • Chief Academic Officer

Department Director:

  • Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Executive Director of Accountability and Reporting
  • Executive Director of Employee Relations



Legal Cross Ref.:

  • §22-10A-20 NMSA 1978
  • §22-13-1 NMSA 1978
  • §22-10A-4 NMSA 1978
  • §22-10A-6 NMSA 1978
  • §22-10A-16 NMSA 1978

Administrative Procedure Cross Ref.:


NSBA/NEPN Classification:


Introduced: May 31, 2024