The Teachers' Scrounge

News and comments from the world of public education. A middle school math teacher shared what he learned today.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

No end soon to soaring enrollments

I stole this graph from a San Antonio-Express News article. Schools in that area are experiencing tremendous growth. One local district opens 3-5 new schools each and every year. These new schools barely keep up with growth as portable classrooms are frequently placed on campuses within the first three years of operation.

Don't get me wrong, I actually like portable classrooms -- normal shaped class, your own thermostat, windows, etc. And I cannot imagine the planning necessary to stay ahead of the population trends in some of the largest school districts in the state. You've got to buy up land in advance of the developers, and the school districts have done a good job of getting quality land (I've seen other districts where the schools flood when there's a healthy rain -- YIKES!).

We worry about stability when we address teacher retention, but this graph talks to the bigger stability issue. Students are reassigned to new schools as they open... the campus five blocks away is capped, busing kids to a different school... teachers leave to "open" new campuses (a truly unique challenge requiring quality individuals). It's tough for a campus to bond when you're losing students and staff all the time. And if you're not losing, then you're campus is so large it's tough to build effective learning communities.

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