SRHS Has a Growing Population (and Not Enough Electives)

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SRHS Has a Growing Population (and Not Enough Electives)

Becky Munoz, Contributor

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Currently at SRHS, there are 160 TAs aiding about 60 staff members. That is 3 TAs for each staff member. Why do we have so many TAs? 

Each year the number of students gradually increase, with the population closing in at 1,380. The issue is the lack of electives for students, this traces back to the lack of selection of electives being offered at the school. 

 “I feel like we have a large amount of electives, however those electives in and of themselves are not very diverse,” said Nevin Quigley, a senior who is an office aid for the second year in a row. “As a senior I didn’t have many things to choose from.”

“What do we have?!” exclaimed one infuriated teacher who would prefer to remain anonymous. This teacher felt that most students are being placed into TA positions as a way to give them a space at school instead of a free period. Many students were left with random gaps in their classes because there were not any other classes offered during those periods. 

“Anything is better than just a free period where you’re wandering around,” said Madame Truett, a French and Spanish Teacher at SRHS.

It was confirmed by new Academic Counselor, Avi Fernandez, that there was an issue with the abundant amount of teacher assistants in the beginning of the year. Many teachers were encouraged to take on more than 1 TA, in order to place the students. 

“We don’t offer enough sections of elective courses for students to take,” said Ms. Fernandez. “ It would be nice for all students to have 7 classes, but we don’t offer enough sections.”

SRHS offers over 50 different types of electives that students can take. When it’s laid out, it seems like quite a lot of options, however, when you knock off all of the electives that require a prerequisite and the ones that are not required for graduation, it brings it down to about 16 regular options. The list of electives can be found on page 11 of the Student Curriculum Guide.

SRHS is only funded to give students 6 classes every year in their schedule, students who wish to take a 7th class will only be allowed to do so if it is being offered during the right period. 

There is a lot of difficulty on the counselors’ part when it comes to placing students in classes. Having to find space for students in classes that are already crowded is just one unpleasant part of their job, especially because it affects the other staff members, such as teachers.

“Teachers end up with large classes, which they are not happy about, but then there really is no other solution.” continued Ms. Fernandez. ”I don’t see the district doing anything to provide us with more sections.” 

Some of our elective teachers are even working 1.2, which means over full time. Other teachers have class sizes of over 30 students, making it very difficult to provide each student the attention they deserve in order to be successful in that course. 

Many students also feel that the electives  offered do not give all students the proper skills or chance to succeed in the real world after graduation. 

“I think they shouldn’t have taken away programs like auto and metal shop,” said Aaron Foree, another senior. “I think those are important programs for people who don’t have as many opportunities, to gain skills that they can use after high school.” Without a wider selection, this district is not giving every student the opportunity they deserve to succeed after graduation. 

Principal Glenn Dennis agreed that the electives offered here only reach the students who have been aiming to attend a 4 year, and do not reach the students whose goal may be to get into the vocational trades, such as: mechanics, plumbing, electrical, etc. 

Just a few years ago, SRHS did offer those electives, but the facilities that the classes were being held in were not up to date with safety regulations and there was no one left to teach the classes.

Principal Dennis says that instead of keeping the Auto Shop classes, the school decided to put the bond dollars towards the STEM building. Even though the new construction provides promise for a growing STEM program, there are no real plans for reinstating the vocational trades electives for future students. 

Not only are those electives not being brought back in the future, there are no other electives filling in their spots. The vocational practice electives are a great opportunity for all students to gain skills they can use after graduation.

With the number of students that are TAs, they could be filling at least 5 more sections of electives that could actually be beneficial to their education. However, there is no way to provide those other sections because there are already not enough teachers as is. 

So this begs the question, if the money within the district isn’t going towards more teachers to cater to the growing school population, then where is it going?