Right now, there are 15 secondary-school classes in School District 57 which are over the 30-student limit established by the School Act.
Superintendent Brian Pepper says that number is higher than it has been recently, but not out of line.
“It’s higher than we’ve had the past couple of semesters, but I would call it the high side of usual.”
He says in some cases the class is designed so the instructor actually prefers more students.
“It may be a peer helping class, or a leadership class, or a band class. In those cases, the teacher doesn’t mind having the extra students.”
A quick check by Pepper revealed three of the over-sized classes were band classes, and three others were peer helping or leadership.
“There is also an independent study class in there as well as a study hall.”
He said there are two main reasons why the district will go over the limit in a class.
“First, again, if the instructor wants the extra numbers. The other most common one is where a particular course is being offered as a singleton at a school, and we end up with one or two students more.”
He points to a calculus class at PGSS as an example in this semester, but adds the district doesn’t track these courses from year to year.
“It just varies too much from year to year. Last year, there wasn’t an overage in the calculus, but there was in a physics class at a different school. They really are random in terms of what classes are affected.”
Another way a class can end up with an extra student is if there is more than one block of the class offered at the school, but the student numbers just don’t work out.
“You may have four blocks of a subject,” Pepper says, “and if you get just over 120 students, you end up with one of the classes having an extra student.”
One thing he did note as unusual about this semester’s distribution of over-size classes was four of them were in Grades 8 and 9.
“That’s different. I’m not going to say it hasn’t happened before, but it not something we see very often.”