The student newspaper of Blue Valley West

BV West Spotlight Online

The student newspaper of Blue Valley West

BV West Spotlight Online

The student newspaper of Blue Valley West

BV West Spotlight Online

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Overcrowding: A Problem Yet Again

This year at BV West, there is a French class with 31 students.  During the enrollment process, teachers and students alike were shocked by this large number of students.  This number, however, is becoming more and more common in the classrooms.

Many teachers at BV West have been here since the school’s opening ten years ago.  They have witnessed the fluctuation of student numbers in the school.  Yet, although the class number has both increased and decreased over the years, there has recently been a continuous increase.

Students and faculty have all heard the complaints about class sizes.  Not only do many students dislike their large classes, but they also cannot stand how crowded the hallways, locker bays, and commons are. Many teachers, however, remain positive about the growing number of students.

“We need to do the best we can with what we have, just like we’ve always done here at West,” says Courtney Domoney.

She, along with most other teachers, understands the school’s dilemma.  Because Domoney is the department chair for languages, she has been helping other foreign language teachers deal with shortages on textbooks or desks for the classrooms.

Not only has the foreign language department had trouble inside the classroom, but also outside the classroom.

“This is the first year since Blue Valley West’s opening that we’ve had to add additional desks and computers in the world language lab,” Domoney notes.

The art department has had its struggles too.  Debra Waldorf, art department chair, has much larger classes as opposed to last year, which is difficult for a studio class.  Because of the large numbers of students, she needed to add more setups to her classroom so that everyone could have a good perspective.

The school’s main concern with the growing number of students is the effect that class size has on the students’ learning.  Each teacher has his or her own opinion, but Aaron Anderson believes that all teachers share at least one similar opinion.

“Everyone can agree that in a smaller class, there’s more one on one time and more instruction,” says Anderson.

This one on one time with the student and teacher is shown to be crucial to a student’s development.  Other teachers agree with Anderson.

“We all know that fewer students is more beneficial because there is less time spent on the teacher grading work,” says Waldorf.  This allows the teacher to give more attention and one on one time with the students. “I, in particular, like to try and visit all of my students in class, and this task can be difficult with a large number of students.”

Many students are wondering why the classes are so big if most teachers prefer them to be smaller.  Much of it is because of budget cuts.  Because of the bad economy, the district has had to make some budget decisions, many of which called for cuts in staffing.  With fewer teachers, the classroom sizes are forced to be bigger.

Classes used to be around 25-26 students, but now they range from about 32-33.  As this number grows, the district looks for different ways to resolve this issue.  In addition, some teachers suggest options they think the district should consider.

“If we hire more staff it would fix the problem. Some teachers were cut last year because the district realized they had too many teachers. Hopefully, once they realize the shortage of teachers, they will decide to hire more teachers for the next year,” says Anderson.

“Maybe we need to cut services, raise taxes?” says Waldorf.  She believes that there is not too much the school can do for the time being.  “I can’t say for sure because this is not my expertise, so I’m really not positive, but I can say that I think the school is doing the best they can!”

Vice Principal Linda Kapfer agrees with Waldorf because she knows BV West is trying its best to keep the school from becoming too overcrowded.

“Although BV West is not used to classes this big, many students forget that our sister schools have larger classes,” Kapfer remarks.  Her main concern is for students to thrive in their environment, no matter what the size.  “The best part about BV West is that it allows students to move to find a place fit for her/himself in order to be the most successful student s/he can be.”

BV West has always been a successful school, and the students are always willing to adapt to the new changes every year.  Recently, students have been working through this increase in class size, and Kapfer believes that as long as the students are still performing the best that they can, then the complaints over a lager class size will appear negligible.


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