Crowded Classrooms at Eastern High School

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

It's a full house at Eastern High School for the second school week, where about 1,700 kids are studying to earn their diplomas. The school has about 500 more students this year because of the addition of 7th and 8th grades to the campus.

"We may be overcrowded in a spot or two, but when we get all done, we will be fine," said Sam Sinicropi the Operations Assistant Superintendent at Lansing Public Schools. The teachers "are glad that they have all the kids, and we are looking at our leveling process to make sure that we get the classes where they need to be."

Since last year the student body has increased by about 40 percent.

Yvonne Caamal Canul, the Superintendent of Lansing Public Schools says everyone has a seat, although the desks aren't uniform.

"There's a kind of a hodge podge of chairs and desks and one of the things we talked about today [Thursday] in our executive team is how do we sort of standardize some of the seating," said Canul.

She says the number of students continues to increase as kids enroll even after the start of the semester. Canul says nothing is out of the ordinary for a school at the start of the year undergoing a similar reconfiguration.

Some of the students I spoke with say they feel a little cramped.

"There's like 35 students in my first hour and it's pretty crowded and the teacher couldn't really tell them what to do," said a ninth grader.

The News Ten cameras were not allowed inside the school. We are told that class sizes are large and that at one point, the school cafeteria ran out of certain food items and so students had to get food from another cafeteria inside the building. All of these growing pains are the direct result of the re-districting.

Superintendent Caamal Canul thanks the teachers for being so patient. Some class sizes are high enough to allow teachers to file a grievance with the union, but no one has.

"All of our teachers, by the way, have been incredibly supportive of some of these nuances, in the reconfiguration," said Canul. "They all undersigned this leveling out period. If you are a high school teacher you know that the first couple weeks of school you may have a few more kids in your class than you will the next month."

The superintendent says band classes are the largest with about 50 students. Some math classes have about 40 students. Canul says the classes are large but still manageable.

"Great teaching is going on and kids are very resilient and we are working day and night to try and make everything as right as possible," said Canul.

The Superintendent says similar changes are expected to happen to Everett High school in a couple of years.

"You know kids can handle a lot of changes a lot better than adults can handle them," said Canul. "We find that kids are able to deal with some inconveniences better than adults."

The district is looking at adding more sections of classes. It hopes to have the classes leveled out by the middle of next week. Assistant Superintendent Sinicropi says doing so will maximize learning for the kids.


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