Overgrowth In schools brings new challenges

As+the+school+district+slowly+grows%2C+the+high+school+has+realized+an+issue+with+overcrowding+in+their+classes.

Adam Novak

As the school district slowly grows, the high school has realized an issue with overcrowding in their classes.

Megan Neal, Print Editor

The 2019-2020 school year has brought new challenges never seen by the high school before. With more students attending than ever before, issues of overgrowth have flooded the hallways.

While the senior class contains 125 students, the freshman class contains 207 students, this is one of the highest class sizes the school has ever seen. The increase in students enrolled has left classrooms packed, requiring teachers to find new solutions to manage larger classes.

For English teacher Taylore Weitner, an ideal class would contain 25 students, however most of her classes contain up to 32 students.

Weitner used the first few days to adjust the layout of her room to find the best set up, after receiving new desks over the summer.

“It took some trial and error to determine which one would work best in terms of allowing students freedom to move, collaborate, and discuss,” Weitner said.

Along with seating changes, Weitner has also made adjustments to the way she runs her classroom.

“Anytime a transition is made in terms of moving to the next activity or going to lunch, the expectations need to be very clear and specific,” Weitner said. “It’s a great group of students, but 32 is a fairly large number. We make it work!”

Freshman Brianna De La Garza moved schools this year. Coming from St. Patrick’s Catholic School, De La Garza has never been in a class with more than 17 students. Now, most of her class contain up to 35 students.

“It’s really different. There is a lot more talking,” De La Garza said. “In smaller classes I can get my work done quicker because we don’t have to stop and wait for people to stop talking.”

Larger class sizes are not the only issues teachers face this year. In order to maximize space available, teachers have had to travel to different classrooms throughout the day. In previous years, rooms could remain empty during a teachers plan period, however, with more classes being offered this year, this was not an option.

Math teacher Erik Harm does not have a classroom that is solely his. In fact, Harm moves to a different room every period.

“It causes a little bit of change on my part to make sure and bring my materials that I need each class to the classroom I am in that hour,” Harm said. “I need to change the way I have classes start and end slightly for me to be able to travel. It has been an interesting adjustment.”

Similarly, English teacher Amber Buck teaches out of three different classrooms. In order to keep her schedule straight, Buck remembers that she “wonders” on white days and “stays put” on purple days.

Teachers who rotate classrooms have the extra challenge of staying organized and prepared throughout the day. To help with this, they have been given rolling carts that they bring with them.

“I have various PowerPoints ready for each different class and I carry my laptop with me everywhere that I go,” Buck said. “I’ve been provided a rolling cart that has lots of drawers and file space, so I utilize that for handouts and other materials that I need for my classes.”

Time is another added challenge. While most teachers have the five minute passing period to prepare for their next class and greet students as they come in, these traveling teachers are often rushing to their next class alongside their students.

The traveling teachers also don’t have the time to set up each classroom the way they would want to during each period.

“It has taken some adjusting. Before, I’ve relied heavily on my labeled quad seating set up. When I move locations, that set up isn’t always a possibility, so I teach around it by giving slightly different instructions for grouping and pairing,” Buck said. “It also means that I’m arriving at the same time as the students versus being there ready to receive the students when they come off of passing period. It can be a bit awkward, but the students have been very patient and understanding.”

While traveling has had its challenges, Buck has found some positives along the way.

“The most difficult part is ‘letting go’ mentally. I’ve always had my ‘own’ space, so it’s been a mind shift for me to be holding class in different classrooms,” Buck said. “I’m learning to appreciate the change of scenery though and I meet a lot of people along the way: students in the hallways, substitutes, upperclassmen, and teachers on my hallway.”