Mo’ students mo’ problems: Orcutt Academy’s class size problem

Some+classes+are+filling+to+capacity+at+OA+and+others+barely+meet+the+minimum%2C+leaving+the+school+to+make+some+tough+choices+about+the+classes+they+offer.

Nicolas Carlson

Some classes are filling to capacity at OA and others barely meet the minimum, leaving the school to make some tough choices about the classes they offer.

Caden McCune, Reporter

Orcutt Academy High School is starting the school year with more students than ever before. As a result of the influx of freshman, there is a need for more entry-level courses. I believe this may force teachers to offer more of the “mainstream” classes, and take away some specialized electives currently being taught.

This year, there were more freshman allowed into Orcutt Academy than usual. However, almost no new classrooms or teachers were added to accommodate the hike in students. I believe this is the core problem that is forcing many of the more specialized classes to only be offered one period, if that, altogether.

It is simple math. As the number of students rise, classes that freshmen take will become more full, and will make it harder to offer the more specialized electives like AP Calc. or even drama for more than one period. This is where I think our school needs to make a change. As more “mainstream” classes reach capacity, this makes it much harder for those specialized electives to be offered.

After talking to OA’s school counselor, Mrs. Ana Perez, she comments that it is always hard for kids who want to take classes that are offered only one period, because it forces them to plan  their schedule around that one class. However, Mrs. Perez added that this year had “no more (students) than usual” that had to go through the struggle of working around a class offered for one period only.

I think this only highlights something this school has needed for a while; more teachers for more classes.

This would solve almost all of the problems listed above and frankly, I see this as something a little overdue. If the school expands the number of students coming into the school, it should also have a plan to expand the classes offered to those students.

This is an idea Perez shares. She explains, “That based on the fact that there will be more kids,… something is going to have to be done to accommodate [them].” This is really the bigger question in this class-availability dilemma. I think that getting upset because you have to change your schedule around a little to get the classes you want shouldn’t be what is most concerning. What should be concerning is what will happen in the future when the school must decide on how to face the problem of more students, by either getting rid of these one period classes or by hiring more teachers.

Instead of complaining that a class is only offered for one period, ask what might happen to these one period classes as more and more students come in. Are we in danger of losing all our specialized-electives? No, that’s probably a bit extreme, but it is worth monitoring to see what the district decides to do next, and how this will affect the diverse class options currently being offered to students that attend Orcutt Academy.