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Crowded Kingston High seeks relief

Kingston High School’s increased enrollment, which has surpassed projections by 50 students, is proving to be a strain on teachers’ resources.

The current student population at Kingston has reached approximately 940 students, putting some classes at more than 30 students per period.

“The increase in our student population has definitely had an impact,” Cole said.

Spanish 1, health and English classes are filled to the brim, said principal Christina Cole.

Currently, the student to teacher ratio at Kingston is 29.86 students to one teacher, with the ratio at North Kitsap High — which has 30 less students than was projected — staying slightly above at 30.27 students to one teacher. These numbers don’t reflect specialists, counselors, librarians or career and technical education staff.

Students have already raised concerns, including student school board member Zane Ravenholt.

Ravenholt, who was chosen to represent Kingston High, spoke out during his first board meeting on Sept. 16, saying there were too many students in his English class.

“I’m worried about the quality of the class when my teacher has to stretch her time between all of us,” Ravenholt said at the meeting.

Although some classes have been hurt by the increase in student enrollment, director of secondary education Aaron Leavell said before the school can take action, a review of the students’ schedules is required.

Adding in more classes during the school year without hindering current classes is something that is not done hastily, Leavell said.

“Doing this is like doing a puzzle,” Cole said. “We are trying to keep the environment as positiveas possible, but we have to be careful about where the pieces go.”

The situation was further exacerbated when teacher’s hours were cut based on the projected student numbers, Cole said.

The school has begun working on super-teacher contracts, which Cole said she hopes to have available by next week.

Super-teacher contracts are an agreement between individual teachers and the school, where teachers sacrifice their planning period to teach an additional class. Teachers who agree to do so will earn an additional 20 percent on top of their contract, which would vary depending on the teacher’s salary.

For now, super-contracts are the fastest remedy and, unless the district can find someone who is certified to teach more than three subjects, the most reasonable, Cole said.

“We won’t find someone who is certified to teach all the subjects we need to fill and we definitely won’t find multiple people who are willing to teach for just a few hours a week,” Cole said.

However, the district is currently aware of the situation, Cole said. In the Sept. 16 school board meeting, board member Ed Strickland was concerned increasing teachers’ workloads would be problematic and hiring a new teacher would be a better solution.

“If we increase their workload, there’s a possibility that we’ll lose quality,” Strickland said.

Despite worries of class sizes, Leavell remains optimistic.

“It’s difficult now, but it is better to have more students coming in than losing them,” Leavell said.

For a schools in the district, more students mean more state funding.

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