Monday, October 02, 2006
James Logan High School about 150 students than expected this year, swelling class sizes and forcing the school to hire more teachers to open more classrooms for the overflow.
As of today, Logan has 4080 students enrolled, surpassing the district's original projection of the student population by more than one hundred.
According to Principal Don Montoya, the solution is to add more classes as soon as possible, rather than wait to add new classes and change students' schedules all on the same day, in the manner known as the "shuffle."
Although the school has been purging the rolls of non-attending students, the main focus is on the hiring of more teachers, Montoya said. When new classes are added depends on "how fast we can hire the teachers," he said.
Some districts are laying teachers off, he said, so Logan would benefit from being able to choose from the pool of unemployed instructors.
Teachers of some subjects are more difficult to find than others. For example, Montoya is looking for math applicants, but "right now, we don't have applicants, so that's a problem."
With the exception of physical education classes, which can be larger, and some freshman classes, which must be smaller, the school is contractually obligated to keep classes at 33-students or below. However, the district's estimation of incoming ninth and twelfth graders was inaccurate, so many classes are overcrowded.
For example, for a time, all English Two classes had 34 or more students enrolled.
"It's stressful because there are never desks available in various classes of mine," said senior Rita Kho, "sometimes I have to sit at a computer desk."
To help minimize the student population and eliminate crammed classes, some students can transfer to Conley-Caraballo High School, which is located in South Hayward but still within the New Haven District or enroll in independent study.
The arrangement to balance out Logan's population is expected to be settled within the next two weeks. But Montoya says that Logan is better off with more students rather than fewer, otherwise Logan would be forced to lay teachers off.