Enrollment up by 100; classes go over limits for start of school year

Physical Education, AP Spanish, visual art among courses most impacted by surge

Fremont High started the year with overflowing classrooms, causing a lot of chaos for teachers and students.

There are more than 100 students more than what the school district funded Fremont for this year. The increase of enrollment caused the size of multiple classes to be larger than what they should be, according to Principal Emiliano Sanchez.

Other causes for some large classes are many teachers having the same conference period during eighth period and the fact that the school expanded its schedule from six to eight classes without adding enough extra classes for students.

Media Academy teacher Jasmene Miranda is one of many teachers who has experienced a large number of students in her classroom. She said she finds it difficult to teach video production when there aren’t enough desks or computers for her students.

But that’s not the only problem she sees.

“I do not have time to discipline them individually and complete buddy referral passes,” said Miranda, referring to a form teachers fill out to send students for a reflection on misbehavior in the classroom.

 Classes such as AP Spanish, Concurrent Enrollment, Art I and Physical Education are particularly larger than what the class limit is supposed to be. According to the Oakland Education Association contract for teachers, no more than 32

students are supposed to be in most classrooms.

For Physical Education, the contractual limit is supposed to be 55 or a total of 250 students per teacher for all periods.

However, P.E. teacher Scot Alexander continued to teach 377 students in the tenth week of school. His largest class was 85 students.

Alexander finally got smaller classes in late October when Marty Levinson was hired.

“It feels great,” said Alexander.  “It helps lighten the load, but P.E. is still tough because students haven’t been part of a real program in quite some time here.”

Spanish teacher Nicholas Parker, like many teachers, has had a very large eighth period He had 87 students in his Advanced Placement Spanish the first week, although it was reduced to 35 students. He still considers 35 very large for an AP course.

“It reduces the amount of [time for] one-on-one and small groups,” said Parker.

Parker’s ideal class size would be 15 to 16 students, which he said would help him to get to know students and their needs.

Teachers are not the only ones who have been shocked by the class sizes. Students say they find it difficult to concentrate in a class of 45-60 students.

 “I’m new; I need extra help and the teacher can’t provide it,” said senior Quenajonay Frazier, who transferred this year from a charter school.

Frazier said she was finding it difficult to adjust to large classes. So was sophomore Junior Tongauiha, who had 38 students in his Public Speaking class, 50 students in his P.E. class and 30 in his Media Studies class.

“You can’t learn that much because there’s a lot of talking,” said Tongauiha.