Over the past five years, Heritage High School has been growing. This year’s class of freshmen contains 429 people, over one hundred more students than last year’s graduated seniors, who numbered at only 328.
Ms. Debbie Graham, Registrar, says, “The overall trend is classes getting larger.”
Some of the teachers are feeling the strain.
“The current cap on class sizes is huge. We can’t fit that many people in,” says Mrs. Abbie Wade, math teacher. “Every desk is full.”
The school’s population will continue to grow, as the new houses being built along Broadway are zoned for Heritage, and it will soon be filled by potential students and their families. The school is growing because Colorado is growing. Denver is the sixth fastest growing city in the US according to “Forbes,” and the State Demographics Office reports that Colorado’s population has increased by 76,386 in 2014, and continues to grow at a rapid rate.
Problems may arise if Colorado continues to grow at this rate as teachers struggle to handle the increase in students.
“Some of my classes can’t get any bigger,” says Mrs. Lori Lee, PE teacher. “I only have so many ropes for rock climbing, and too many people in the pool can be a safety hazard. There just isn’t any more room.”
But the administration at Heritage is making changes.
“We historically fluctuate,” says Mr. David Heimer, Assistant Principal. “Heritage has handled larger numbers than this in the past.”
The school has several strategies for relieving the strain.
“District funding is based off the number of students, so the more students we have, the more funding is available,” explains Heimer.
With the extra funding, Heritage can hire more teachers and offer a wider variety of classes. English has a new teacher coming in second semester to take on 5 MWF classes to relieve the class size.
Heritage has also implemented programs like Advisory that allow students to get one-on-one time with teachers if they have trouble in a large class setting.
“Growth is good to a certain extent. It means that Heritage is a good school and that people want to come here,” Heimer says.