By JANE HAGEN
Nine classes were added to UHS to accommodate an unexpected net growth of 30-40 students this year. Due to limited facilities, teachers have had to share rooms to fit the needs of this increase. The sections added were determined by comparing average class sizes and adding sections to classes with the greatest average class size. There are a total of 13 rooms being shared, usually by two teachers each, forcing some teachers to travel between multiple rooms.
During the summer, the school was expecting 2571 students; however, total enrollment amounted to 2623. “After last minute new enrollments and some dropouts there is usually a net growth compared to our summer estimation, but this year’s net growth was more than usual,” Mr. Michael Georgino (Admin.) said.
The freshman class contributed to most of the net growth in students. Currently, the freshman class totals 672 students. In the 2013-2014 school year there were 576 students in the freshman class, and in the 2014-2015 school year there were 664, an increase of 88.
Teachers sharing rooms must carry all supplies and materials necessary for their classes with them in order to teach. Ms. Shannon Lenert (Math Dept.) shares her classroom with another teacher but has to prep in a classroom other than her own. “Although it’s not an ideal situation to be in, with all the set-up that has to be done, it’s do-able,” Lenert said. “It is still inconvenient, so hopefully it is a temporary situation and new facilities will added.”
Ms. Michelle Raitt (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.), who teaches for the last three periods of the day, shares her classroom with a teacher teaching earlier periods. “It’s awkward and we have to learn to be flexible. The population is too big and growing, so we need more facilities to support it. In the past we’ve had portable classrooms, and it’d be nice to have them again,” Raitt said.
Students also understand how the increase may affect their own lives. “I still tend to get lost in the crowds even if I’m a junior. I can only imagine how overwhelming it would be for incoming students with the gigantic student population,” Kerri Luttrell (Jr.) said.
Enrollment is projected to steadily increase, as it has been for the past few years. The opening of Portola High School will not affect enrollment at UHS due to district zoning.