The Red and Black Editorial: One high school vs two high schools

Red Black

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Not too long ago, the JCPS school board made the decision to keep one high school, rather than dividing the current student population between two. Instead, the academy system was put into place with the intention of being a way for students to more easily take classes tailored to their interests. However, the academy system can’t solve all of the current student population problems. A lot of students and teachers alike feel like two high schools would be a better solution, but some aren’t convinced yet that the issues with one high school are bad enough to make the switch.

For years now, the students and staff here at JCHS have felt the squeeze of a high school that may be too small to accommodate its entire facility. With a teacher-to-student ratio roughly around 19:1, class sizes over the past decade have been bigger than ever. Even with classes tailored to academies, many students will find themselves in less personalized relationships with teachers and other classmates due to the larger classes. While this doesn’t sound like too much of an issue on paper, studies have found that the decrease in personal relationships between a student and their peers/teachers leads to the widening of the achievement gap, which is dangerous to the futures of students all over the JCHS community.

Another concern of the JCHS community is the physical status of the current high school. The fact is, the high school has simply too many students in it to keep up with every problem at once. With five lunch shifts overlapping, there’s barely any time to clean up in-between lunches, which gives the cafeteria staff a difficult job to do. Every day, there are students who leave messes all over the bathrooms, which becomes a huge hassle for janitors. Even with the construction over the summer to create new classrooms in the building and the additional space of the Nichols Career Center, the influx of incoming students proved to be so drastic that there was the necessity of mobile classrooms to hold everyone.

Additionally, with the addition of the sophomores’ iPads this year, the school’s wifi is also becoming increasingly hard to access. If the curriculum is experiencing a shift to the digital realm, how will students be able to access their work when the network is so unreliable? By next year, all students in every grade will have iPads. Is this new shift to paperless learning possible with the increasing amount of students? Significant changes would have to be made to the network to keep the curriculum running as smoothly as possible.

Though the current high school has served us well over the years, it’s just becoming unfit to hold so many students and faculty members. If there were two high schools that could divide the same number of students currently attending JCHS, many of the problems we’ve been experiencing over the past few years would be monumentally less of an issue. If the amount of students wasn’t as big, then one high school would suffice, but it’s in the best interest of the JCHS community to allow for more room for students to prosper.