FIT OR SPLIT?
Photo by Alina Husain
The debate between critics who believe this school has exceeded its student limit, and those who say that it’s perfect the way it is still persist. Those who believe CHS is too big argue that the school should split into two separate schools.
“I guess my thought on (overcrowding) is that the benefits outweigh the negatives. You think of all the things that we as (CHS)…can offer students, the great classes we can offer, the extracurriculars we can offer, just the experiences we can offer because of our size,” Principal Tom Harmas said. “If it might take you five minutes longer, that’s why we give you 10 minutes to get to class to get through the hallways. I think back at Creekside Middle School when we were at 1,600 kids, the hallways were pretty packed, but everyone seemed to make it in five minutes. The hallways are pretty packed here, but everyone seems to make it in 10 minutes.”
Jake O’Hara, student at Sheridan High School and junior, said he contemplated whether he wanted to go to CHS or Sheridan. This school’s size played a role in his decision.
“I think overcrowding is a problem at (CHS) because there’s at least 1,000 kids per grade, and there’s less of an opportunity at sports. Getting to your classes is harder and the hallways are always crowded. I think it affects Carmel because everyone is always rushing, and they have to share a lot of things and people can get lost easily. (CHS) should split into two,” O’Hara said.
Drudge said the administration and the school maintain classroom sizes, which have barely risen in the last five or six years, although enrollment has risen drastically in that time period. She said departments do their best to put restrictions on class sizes, which consists of the administrators looking to see how many students should be in a classroom as far as what is the best environment for learning. In addition, admistrators see how much space there is in a class to utilize the space in the most effective manner. She said the student to teacher ratio is not set in stone since there are always kids who move in, or schedule changes occurring, but they try to set the class size around an ideal number.
Drudge said, “I know in the hallways there are some areas of the school where the hallways narrow, so you get that little bit of bottleneck effect, and that’s usually the worst in the first couple two to four weeks of school and then as students start to find different ways to get to classes that becomes less of a problem. Sometimes it feels crowded when we put everybody in the gymnasium, but as far as individual classes go, I don’t know that our school of 5,000 is that much different for a classroom size versus a school of 2,500.”
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