The RBHS administration seems to recognize that there is a problem with class sizes (“RBHS to address large class sizes,” News, Nov. 26) and with some other issues within the student body (a grant was obtained to hire a drug/alcohol counselor, for example, and to increase student engagement they have reinstated the musical and some clubs like the Fishing Club).
Dr. Skinkis’ statement that “We’d love to see this move a lot faster, but I’m trying to show everybody, even the community, that we’re moving at a snail’s pace, but we are chipping away at lowering class sizes and trying to get them all under 30 and trying to get something that is more manageable and more effective for instruction” indicates he heard the school’s teacher mentors at a Board of Education meeting about a month and a half ago when to a person they said the large class sizes were having an effect on student outcomes.
I think it is important to point out three things, though:
This year’s class “college readiness” score, which is a composite score of 21 or greater on the ACT, is at 59.2, down from 63.7 percent for last year’s class, 72 percent in 2012, and 70 percent in 2011.
This year’s freshman class is large, according to Ms. Smetana, but I hope the school is getting prepared for what is to come. Hauser Junior High has its largest-ever class of sixth-graders and large classes both before and after that, and the same thing is happening in District 95. Larger incoming classes in the near future look to be inevitable.
At the same time, the school is planning to spend millions on athletic structures and a parking lot.
Overly large class size has been a problem at RBHS for three years. The board talks about it while money goes to a controversial parking lot and a new stadium where only the spectator stands demand replacement.
Next year, more students will have more choices where to park their cars, but only so they can more quickly get to an overcrowded classroom. It would be nice to take some of the abundant concern for parking and athletics and redirect it toward education.