New Trier sees average class size inch higher
Wilmette Life (Wilmette, Illinois), 20 Oct 2011, p. 1

Fornek, Kimberly, Author
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Enrollment at New Trier High School this school year has yielded a slightly higher average class size than last year. As of Oct. 3 total enrollment is 4,232 compared with 4,181 last year.
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20 Oct 2011
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New Trier Township High School
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Enrollment at New Trier High School this school year has yielded a slightly higher average class size than last year.

As of Oct. 3, total district enrollment is 4,232, compared with 4,181 at the same time last year.

The current average class size is 22.9 students compared with 22.4 last school year.

“We look at this report very carefully,” said Paul Sally, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. The class size report shows the number of students in a class range from 32 in three courses to 10 in a photography class and in a Latin 2 class.

Thirty-two students are scheduled in advanced placement European history and analytic geometry, both level 4 courses, and in a level 8 consumer seminar.

“We are never happy when we have classes over 30,” Sally said. But he assured the School Board and the community at Monday’s Board meeting, “We are continuing to deliver quality education in our classes.”

The number of classes with 30 students rose from six last year to 14 this school year, said District 203 Superintendent Linda Yonke. The number of classes with from 27 to 29 students also increased from 122 sections last year to 134 this school year. The number of classes with registrations in the midrange, 17 to 25, remained about the same, Yonke said.

While the district generally tries to limit the number of large and very small classes, it also wants to keep class sizes small for enriched and English as a Second Language courses, administrators say.

District officials may be willing to have 30 students in one class, in order to keep enrollment at 16 in another more challenging class, Yonke said.

“It’s the whole big picture we have to look at,” said School Board member Alan Dolinko.

The district also tries to limit the number of students in 2-level courses, those with an average level of difficulty, to 20 or fewer students whenever possible, “to accommodate those who have special needs, to support the depth of the curricular offerings for students and to offer courses we believe should be available at both Northfield and Winnetka campuses,” Matthew Ottaviano, assistant principal for administrative services, explained in a memo.

Another tool the district uses to meet individual student needs is to allow them to switch sections if they find the class is not a good fit for their abilities.

“We have a very flexible system,” Sally said. But, to move a student who is struggling at one level, “there needs to be a space in an appropriate different level of the same class. We want to be able to move a student without changing his entire schedule.”

“As class sizes rise, there are more closed classes,” those that are full, Sally said. “As class size goes up, flexibility goes down.”

With students taking an average of 6.9 classes per semester, “most of our kids have a very full day,” Sally said.

The current enrollment is within five of that forecast by the district’s demographics consultant, John Kasarda.

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New Trier sees average class size inch higher