When I first started at The School nine years ago (Wow, has it really been nine years?), the average size of each grade level class was around 300-320. Maybe. My first year we had two full seventh grade teams, and then a mini-team, to accommodate all the seventh graders. As our numbers have gone up and down, we've morphed to three full teams, down to our current incarnation of two teams with a whole bunch of kids (144 on my team at last count) but with some eighth grade teachers picking up the extras and teaching a couple of classes of seventh graders.
They have Very Smart People at The District who spend a lot of time staring at maps and real estate projections and all sorts of things to figure out just where, exactly, all these new kids we get every year (about 600-800 a year the past ten years) are going to go to school, and where we need to build new schools. And then this year they announced a new zoning plan to take affect next year to even out the buildings so we don't have one school with empty classrooms and another crowded with portables.
A few years ago when they eliminated the third seventh grade team and started having the eighth grade teachers help out with the seventh graders, Mrs. Eagle and I sort of shrugged and said, "whatever", but thought that it wouldn't last too long because all of our feeder schools have portables all over the place. They were FULL. We sort of figured this would be one of those little population dips in the road, and eventually the numbers would be back up again.
And from what the Guidance Diva tells me, this could be the year that the bubble has moved to middle school. As of Friday, after we dropped all the no-shows off our rolls and added in all the new kids who registered the past two weeks, the sixth grade has a total of 356 students. That's the biggest class she has ever seen and she's been at The School way longer than I have. The sixth grade teachers, who are used to slightly smaller class sizes than seventh and eighth, are besides themselves. They are putting out requests for student desks as they have rapidly run out of room and furniture.
And they just keep on coming.
Very few seventh or eighth graders have registered this fall, but there have been hordes of sixth graders. And if they stick around a few years, that means they'll be a whole bunch of seventh graders next year. And that's not factoring in the 100 or so new kids we'll get with the new zoning.
So. What does that mean for us next year? Three full seventh grade teams? Huge class sizes? More eighth grade teachers teaching seventh grade?
Who knows? I do know we won't find out - most likely - until May. If we're lucky.