Teacher retirement may affect several departments

Cade Skuse, Editor-In-Chief (Online)

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With the elimination of former math teacher Ed Shephard’s position at the high school this year, the math department was left with only five teachers covering 13 different classes. In order to accommodate this change, several teachers had to pick up classes they hadn’t taught before. Math teacher K.C. Hastings plans to retire at the end of this year but has yet to submit her paperwork. However, it begs the question: What will happen if the school doesn’t replace her position?

In the high school, there are currently more than 250 students enrolled across 13 different math courses with a total of 23 sections.  There are 23 sections of math offered across red and white days. Right now, Hastings covers six of these sections.

Presently, Hastings teaches Algebra II, Honors Pre-calculus, AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC. Once she retires, the other math teachers would have to distribute the math courses among themselves to fill these sections. The problem with this is that for teachers to be able to lead the class, they must have the proper certification.

In order to accommodate this change, classes would need to have more students in each section. More subjects would be able to be taught at the cost of fewer sections of each class being offered.

“What generally happens is that we look at the position and look at the numbers in terms of staff and student numbers. Then there is a decision or recommendation made as to whether that person is replaced or not,” high school principal William Deal said.

As of now, each section of math currently has about 11 people per class. If the six sections of math that Hastings currently teaches are eliminated, then classes would increase to about 17 students. While this may not be too drastic, a decent amount of the classes are already full. Adding six theoretical students to each of the current classes would not be possible.

There are already several classes that are close to being full of students. If class sizes were to increase, this could cause a problem that too many students may schedule for a class and not enough sections of it would be offered in order to accommodate this.

“What we allow to drive our schedule is being able to meet our students’ needs. I will have a really full Geometry class because I am trying to let students have their first choice of scheduling. We try to do the best we can with the resources we have,” Deal said.

One way that the same amount of sections of math that are offered next year is by cutting extra classes that the math teachers currently are in charge of. For example, math teacher Amanda Bovard instructs other classes, such as Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Physical Science. The possibility of these classes being cut exists in order to make room for the missing sections. Another possible scenario is to have other teachers not have study halls like they currently do and instead fill these with more math sections.

“Once I know what the Math Department looks like, whether we are replacing her or not, then I can say ‘Here are classes we are having, how can we balance those sections out among teachers?’ Once we get student requests, we see what courses we can offer,” Deal explained.

While whether or not the school will replace a math teacher position if Hastings were to retire is still up in the air. If her position was not be replaced, choices for students will be narrowed down due to fewer sections of each class being offered. No decision has been announced but likely will happen before the end of the year.