Ogden School District officials are looking at ways to alleviate large class sizes this school year. With an overall enrollment increase of nearly 200 students, many elective classes and some core classes are feeling a squeeze.
Many Junior High School teachers in particular are dealing with 40 to 50 students in a class. Ogden School officials say elective classes like art, music and PE have filled up as enrollment swells and Junior High Schools adjust to a new type of class schedule. Brad Acey is president of the Utah chapter of American Federation of Teachers. He’s also a former employee of Ogden City Schools. Acey says most teachers would agree that class sizes of 30 to 35 are large but manageable.
“35 to 40, you can’t get around as much, they don’t get the individualization that they need,” Acey says. “If you get over 40 it becomes just crowd control and it just makes it extremely difficult to teach and the students don’t deserve that.”
Acey has forwarded some possible solutions to the Ogden School Board: One is to hire more teachers. Another is to have teachers of core subjects like English and Math take one period to teach an elective class. That would effectively lower class sizes in elective courses by shifting more students into core classes.
Shane Story is president of the Ogden School Board. He says the board will decide in the next few weeks how to mitigate large class sizes, but it won’t make any changes until next semester.
“If you were to wait until your second semester it creates less disruption to students and teachers than taking somebody out during the middle of a class or trying to move them to a different elective class or core class or anything like that,” Story says.
In regards to hiring new teachers, Superintendent Brad Smith told the Standard Examiner earlier this week, there’s never a good time to do that, but if they bring in more teachers, it will be done over semester break.