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Looping at Lyon

OlafsonClassWebPhoto.jpg What is Looping?

In an attempt to better meet the social and learning needs of students and families, Mary Lyon has been using a “looping” model of classroom placement since 2012.

  A “loop” is when an entire class, including the teacher, moves up together to the next grade level.  For example, all of last year’s 4th grade classes moved up to the 5th grade together with their teachers.  These loops last for 2 years, then students’ transition to a new class with a new teacher.  We firmly believe this model allows our teachers and students to develop long-term relationships that will have a significant impact on the overall student achievement and growth of all students.


So what are the benefits of looping?

Increased Learning Time

The academic growth of students is directly linked to the amount of time spent learning.  Looping allows teachers to spend far less time teaching classroom expectations and routines.  At the beginning of the second year of the loop, teachers can skip the “getting to know each other” process and immediately focus on student learning.  Looping also buys teachers a significant amount of learning time by giving them the opportunity to bridge the summer break with meaningful learning activities.  By reducing the amount of reviewing at the start of the year, teachers can begin immediately with new, more challenging material.



Looping takes advantage of the power of strengthened relationships between the teacher, the student, and the student’s family.  Classrooms in the second year of the loop have a deeper sense of community.  Students are comfortable with their classmates and their teacher and have a stronger sense of belonging.  The teacher is familiar with the students’ needs and is more prepared to provide the support they need to be successful. Strengthened relationships between the teacher and student can have a direct, positive impact on the learning of the student. These benefits are more significant for those students with special needs and those who speak English as a second language.


Student Engagement

Transitions are difficult for students.  Looping provides students a sense of safety and comfort and minimizes anxiety for starting the year with new classmates and a new teacher.  Reducing this anxiety allows students in the second year of the loop to be more engaged in the learning process.  Looping also benefits the teacher, whose familiarity with students and their families allows them to use their knowledge of students’ needs and to support their academic and social growth.

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What do Students Say about Looping?

The things I liked about looping are:

·         Not having to go over directions every year.

·         I didn’t have to adjust to a new teacher and change classmates.

·         I like having the same kids in the class.

·         I didn’t have to meet a new teacher.

·         You get to stay with the same teacher which is cool. And you get to have the same friends.  And you’re not shy.

·         Things I liked about looping were that I got to know most of the students from last year. 

·         Staying with the same teacher so they can know me better.

·         I get to see my 4th grade teacher and I get to learn more with the same teacher.

·         I liked that I didn’t have to meet a whole new teacher.