Students return to hectic start

Mr. Kearns World Regions Class has more than 30 students

Jenna Taormina

Mr. Kearns’ World Regions Class has more than 30 students

ERIN TETTONI, Staff Writer

Another summer has come and gone and we are back inside the hot and humid classrooms of Gloucester High School. This year, many students returned to numerous scheduling issues, over crowded classrooms, reduced staff and course offerings, and the lack of availability of guidance counselors.

Many freshmen classes have between 28 and 31 students enrolled, particularly in History, Math and English. Health, foreign language and some electives are also running large classes.

“I have a lot of big classes,” said freshmen Kae Monroe “It is chaotic sometimes.”

When asked about the larger class sizes, especially in freshmen and sophomore classes, former GHS guidance counselor Matt Duncan said this year’s teacher cuts were partly to blame.

“When you lose a teacher, especially one that teaches freshmen, the kids have to be dispersed to other classes. Teachers have to cover those classes and class offerings are reduced and there are larger class sizes,” said Mr. Duncan. “Even though the population of our school has gone down recently, it still does not balance out teachers to kids.”

He also said there were issues with the master schedule.

“The master schedule, due to circumstances and people being over worked was created late and there was less time to fix imbalances,” said Duncan.  “This lead to less sections of classes and less opportunities.”

Duncan resigned just before school began to take a job at Andover High School. This has  contributed to the shortage of guidance appointments as his position has been not yet been filled.

“I can’t make an appointment with my guidance counselor, and I really need one,” said freshman Madison Dempsey.

When asked about his decision to leave Mr. Duncan, made it clear that his decision was not out of enmity. “Sometimes when an opportunity presents itself you just have to take it,” said Duncan.

Students are not the only ones experiencing frustration. Teachers are feeling the consequences as well.

“I have three freshmen classes with 27 or more kids,” said History teacher Shaun Goulart. “Fortunately it is a great group and at this point they are working very hard.”

English teacher James Cook, had to give up his creative writing class to teach freshmen.

“In order to have reasonable class sizes we had to decide to run only one semester of creative writing,” said Cook. “The bigger loss for you guys is that if it didn’t fit into your schedule the first semester we don’t offer it second semester.”

Mr. Roy will take over the remaining section of creative writing.

“We are lucky as a staff that Mr. Roy is so equipped to teach the class”, said Cook. “Personally I will miss it, creative writing was my major in college. I gave up poetry and literature when I gave AP Literature to Mr. Telles so that I could start AP Language but at least I had an outlet; teaching creative writing. Now I don’t have either.”

Cook has some advice for students experiencing undesirable class sizes.

“Take advantage of the days teachers stay after school and of the willingness teachers have to help you both inside and outside of school. You need to seek out teachers and guidance for help,” said Cook.

It was a stressful first week for all and while it will not solve everything, according to Mr. Duncan guidance problems may be solved soon, “The job has been posted and they are actively looking for a new candidate.”

As for class sizes, not much can be done.