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Class Sizes Increase in the 2014-2015 School Year
June 3, 2014
With the overwhelming majority of the ICCSD’s annual budget going towards salaries of staff, when the District’s budget cuts were announced on April eighth it was clear that some cuts to staffing would have to be made.
“As someone that was a classroom teacher myself I understand that class size is a very important consideration.” Principal John Bacon said. “Something we pride ourselves on is being able to provide students with individual support that they need.”
The ICCSD”s budget cuts require both City High and West High to reduce their staffing by the equivalent of six and a half full-time positions. These cuts will be achieved through attrition, where teachers who retire are not replaced, instead of by layoffs.
“The good news is that the district made the decision to make this reduction without laying anybody off.” Bacon said. “None of these people are losing their jobs.”
The cuts will spread throughout all departments of City High equally, with reductions in the Language Arts, Math, Science, and World Language departments, as well as the loss of one teacher-librarian and Dean of Students position.
“It was an exhausting, extensive process to go through every single course in the building and look where there are opportunities to get by with one less section.” Bacon said. “You look for the best opportunities, where you can most afford to trim a section, and that’s what we did.”
The ICCSD recommends that class sizes have between 24 and 32 students. Currently, City High’s classes have student numbers in the upper 20’s. These cuts will push that number closer to the upper limit, which may give an added challenge to City High’s teachers.
“It makes it easier for some students to fall through the cracks.” City High Spanish teacher Kapra Hefley said. “If somebody’s sitting there really quiet and not causing a problem but not participating, when you have a class of 32, it’s easy to miss those kids.”
Hefley makes a point to talk to each of her students and make eye contact in an effort to work against the challenges of a larger class size. She also updates grades weekly and sometimes daily to help her students stay caught up.
“Especially in a language when you need to try to get around to everybody to see that they can learn how to speak and practice speaking,” Hefley said. “I don’t get to have as much one on one experience or one on one contact with the student when the classes are large.”
Claire Rutherford, ‘16, also sees complications with the class size increasing.
“When teachers have a smaller group of kids to work with they can teach more personally to them so they can help them learn better.” she said. “When it’s a bigger class it’s just harder to make sure they understand it well.”
With new schools coming online in the next few years, cuts had to be made to leave money in the budget to staff the new schools.
“We just had to meet as an administrative team and just come up with a plan that we thought we could work with, and that’s what we’ve done.” Bacon said.