Large Freshman Class Continues Trend of Population Growth

As of Sept. 5, 407 freshmen were recorded as attending RHS, making the class of 2018 the largest administration has seen.

There is an abundance of freshmen, compared to the 337 sophomores, 318 juniors and a mere 269 seniors attending RHS. These numbers are always changing slightly, as students receive the credits they need mid-year to move onto the next grade.

Among this year’s challenges are the counseling office’s attempts to schedule upperclassmen requests, causing the combination of some AP and IB upper-level classes. Administration also strives to move away from single-period classes, classes only offered at one time during the day, because the more a student is enrolled in, the harder it is to obtain his or her preferred schedule.

“For the first time in a long time, every classroom in the building is being used. Are we busting at the seams? No, but are we getting full? Yes,” principal Billie-Jean Bensen said. There is currently no intention of rebuilding RHS; however, as numbers steadily increase over the next few years, it may come into consideration, Bensen said.

The number of students per classroom has not dramatically changed over the past year, as some classes remain large and others small. RHS aims for an average class size of 29 students. But while the average is 29, there are always classes with numbers in the mid-thirties.

“When you have 35 kids you really can’t build that relationship [with students],” staff development teacher Debra Plaisance said. “It’s really more about delivering information.”

There are, however, benefits to student growth. To acquire additional staff members, a school must be within a certain range of students. For example, Plaisance explained, a school may need 25 students to obtain one staff member, but if they only have 20 students, they may not get a desired staff increase.

The increase in students initiated the combined AP-IB class of Calculus BC. In normal circumstances, the two classes would be separated by program. However, both types of students take the same combined AP-IB quizzes, which include both AP-style multiple choice questions and IB short answer responses. They also receive homework out of three textbooks a�� the AP, IB core and IB option calculus books.

Senior Michaela Berger is in the mixed AP-IB Calculus BC class taught by Stacey Gordon. “My inability to understand IB questions makes the class difficult and forces me to spend time learning the setup of IB tests instead of studying for my AP test in May,” Berger said. “I dislike that I am expected to know the IB curriculum because it has no benefits for me and my fellow AP students.”