Overcrowding Creates Schedule Changes

Students received new schedules to accommodate necessary changes for overly large classes.


Courtesy of Emma Daman

Around 500 students at Dunbar will be receiving new schedules on Sept. 17.

Students and faculty were unexpectedly affected by a large number of those enrolled at Dunbar this year.

“On day one we had approximately 1,975 students enrolled and ready to start. Over the course of the first few weeks of school, enrollment fluctuates due to students enrolling and withdrawing. As of [Sept. 11], we have 1,993 students enrolled,” registrar Ms. Michelle Ginn said.

The district has allowed for more staffing to help with the overcrowding in certain classes. Counselors are also changing some students’ schedules to accommodate this situation. It is expected for these new schedules to go out on Sept. 17, nearly a month into this school year.

“We have overcrowding in the following content areas; social studies, business, math, science, engineering, and several electives,” principal Ms. Betsy Rains said.

Although seven different subjects were in need for more classes, it is not possible to hire that many new teachers. Dunbar was able to hire two new teachers along with adding classes in the content areas that were needed.

“We are adding a new social studies teacher and a new ELL as full teaching positions. Several of our teachers in the building have offered to teach additional classes on their planning period which makes up for hiring a teacher because you can’t find a teacher certified in seven different subject areas which is what we needed to lower the class numbers,” counselor Mrs. Kendra Tackett said.

Students who are in class sizes of 40 or more will be affected by the schedule changes. The decision to add more teachers is based on the “Day four” count. This is the number of students enrolled on day four. This number is monitored and adjustments are made based on the enrollment number.

The district has a formula using projected enrollment numbers in March for the following school year. In the past, high schools had an agreement with the district that our staffing would be based on the prior year “Day 4” count because it is too difficult to adjust a high school master schedule after school started,” head counselor Mrs. Deanna Smith said.

Many students and even teachers will be affected by the rearranging of schedules, but the counselors have been working hard on making sure the necessary adjustments are made along with the fewest number of schedules being changed.

“We don’t have an exact number at this time because it is still a work in progress, we feel like it will be somewhere between 550-600 class changes. They may not all result in new teachers, they will not result in new classes, but it could possibly be a teacher change,” Mrs. Tackett said.

One of the subjects Dunbar was overcrowded in was social studies. Many classes such as government or world civilization were packed with up to 40 students in one classroom. This makes the teaching process slower because one teacher has to try and accommodate the situation for 35 to 40 students in a class period.

 “When you have multiple kids that need a lot of one on one instruction it is very hard because they can’t move on to the next section/content without my individualized help. Now multiply that by several students and that math does not work with one teacher,” social studies teacher Mrs. Sharessa Crovo said.

With class numbers up in the high 30s it results in no time for teachers to run to the restroom, sit down or even check their email. Along with this, highly skilled classroom management is necessary. Keeping a class of teenagers on task and quiet does not just happen.

“Adding more teachers will be better for the students. They will get more one to one instruction, grades will be entered more quickly,  and it reduces teacher and student stress as well. An overwhelmed teacher with 35 plus students in a room is not as productive as a class with 25. Smaller class sizes are better for everyone,” Mrs. Crovo said.

Students have found it difficult being in completely full classes, but are unsure of how they feel about adjusting to a new schedule a whole month after school started. Finding new classes and changing your routine is frustrating after already having one in place.

Many of the freshmen are still learning the school and given a new schedule will make it a little harder for them to adjust.

I would be mad if my classes changed a month into school. Since I finally found where all my classes are, trying to find new ones would throw me off,” freshman Will Graves said.

Along with changing your routine, students are worried about being assigned to new teachers. After a month of school, most teachers have matched students names with faces. Students have learned who their teachers are, too.

“It would be kind of annoying to adjust to new teachers because I have already gotten to know all of mine and the way they teach,” senior Gabbi Freeman said.

Over the past two years, 15 positions were cut from the school. This year Dunbar was able to gain four of them back. Due to the class numbers, it felt like a necessity to fill these available positions.

“Adjusting the master schedule after school starts is not desirable or easy to do, but we did not feel leaving class sizes at the levels they were at was conducive to a positive learning environment,” Mrs. Smith said.