Freshmen are the latest big kids on campus

With 325 students in the current freshman class of 2022, San Marin staff and administration made multiple adjustments within the school this year to accommodate its increasing population.

“We were projected to have 268, and then we went up to 305 before school let out last spring, but then we got more,” Vice Principal Diane Santamorena said. “By then our staffing had already been established, and to get more staffing we have to justify with
actual bodies in chairs. We can’t just go by numbers.”

The sophomores have 286 students, the juniors have 271, while the seniors have 266 this year.

Santamorena said that the average class size has remained between 31 and 34 students this year, but teachers have noticed that their classes are bigger than last year.

English teacher Karen Arcangelo has three freshman classes this year, two with 34
students and one with 33. Last year, her class sizes were usually in the twenties, with only one class that had about 30 students she said.

Arcangelo said that physical space was a larger problem than finding English teachers willing to take on the freshman class this year.

“I had to add more desks,” she said. “Teachers at the beginning of the year had to make sure we had enough furniture.”

One way to decrease the number of students per teacher is to hire more staff; however, Santamorena explained that it is not that simple.

“[The number of new staff is] something that’s mandated by the district office, and we’re in a very precarious area right now with numbers of students versus teachers,” she said. “Everyone knows we’re growing, but we’re not quite to the point where they’re going to spend more money to give us more teachers.”

Many students find that learning in a larger class is very different from a smaller one. “I’m a pretty independent worker, but I know a lot of my friends have trouble learning when there’s a huge class, because the teacher can’t really focus individually on kids,”
freshman Grace Hoffman said.

“I think that when you’re asked to teach the material and make connections and engage
students and help everyone, it’s hard when it’s one to 34,” Arcangelo said. “As an English
teacher, I don’t think that [a larger class] is better.”

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