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Class student minimum

Classes for the 2017-2018 school year must have at least 26 students signed up, causing some classes to be canceled and leaving teachers unprepared

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Graphic created by Isabeau Rodsen

Graphic created by Isabeau Rodsen

Graphic created by Isabeau Rodsen

By Meghan Park, Staff Writer

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As returning students may realize, many classes and programs taught last year are not appearing this year, including some languages, yearbook, Hawk Broadcasting Network, SLSN and more.
Not only that, but there is also a considerable shift in the faculty with about 10 staff leaving and approximately 24 joining. The reasoning behind all of this change is rooted in a simple rule set by previous principal Greg Schwab: there must be a minimum of 26 students to make up a class.

Reilly said that it’s difficult to have teachers,who have full time contracts, teach classes that students don’t sign up for. As examples of this rule, Spanish teachers Robin Cogburn and Tamara Reilly are teaching both a greater variety and higher number of classes.

Cogburn has qualifications to teach Spanish levels one through four and Reilly has qualifications to teach Spanish one and two. But because there weren’t as many students who signed up for Spanish three or four, Cogburn was required to teach more Spanish two classes than before, due to her Edmonds School District teaching contract requiring her to work full time with five classes and one planning period. This lead to Reilly having to teach fewer Spanish classes and needing more classes to fulfill her contract.

“The real problem is less kids are signing up for languages and it means we (the Spanish teachers) don’t have enough students,” Reilly said.

Since Reilly has qualifications to teach history as well as Spanish, she is teaching World History 9, alongside Spanish one.

Another example is French teacher Heidi Monrad. She will be teaching at Mountlake Terrace High School, as well as Brier Terrace Middle School, to fulfill her contract which will cause fewer students to sign up in the future.

Spanish, French and World History aren’t the only classes being affected either; Hawk Broadcasting Network (HBN) and Yearbook have been cancelled because of the 26 student minimum requirement. However, Yearbook has been brought back under Hawkeye, who will be producing the Tempo for the 2017-2018 school year.

In some World History 10 classes, the teacher is listed as Greg Schellenberg, the interim principal. However, this is just a placeholder and the class will be taught by a series of substitute teachers until a permanent teacher is found.

With different teachers, such as Reilly and Cogburn, teaching classes they aren’t used to, the question does arise: Will the teachers who are fulfilling their contracts teach at the standard of high school classes?

It’s been around 13 years since Reilly last taught a history class. Although she is capable to teach the required material, it may take a while to establish the daily curriculum.

A study done about the achievement gap in schools by Bruce D. Baker, Danielle Farrie, and David G. Sciarra states: “children in smaller classes achieve better outcomes, both academic and otherwise, and that class size reduction can be an effective strategy for closing racially or socioeconomically based achievement gaps.”

Additionally, Initiative 1351 which was certified to be on the ballot July 24, 2014, would have made class size average for grades 9-12 to be around 25 students, one student less than the 26 student minimum requirement at Mountlake Terrace.

The initiative was passed, however about a year later Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation that delayed its implementation for four years. Meaning the initiative is planned to be set in motion in 2018, affecting the 2018 – 2019 school year.

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The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.
Class student minimum