A district facing mandated reductions in staff is addressing increased class size with digital classes.
In Frederick County, Maryland, students who attend small rural public high schools cannot always enroll in courses that interest them, due to fewer offerings taught by fewer teachers. The board enacted a class size increase by one student last year, in order to allocate money. The increase did not add a student to each class, but affected the number of teachers available. Fewer teachers in a rural area means fewer classes and not as many choices for specialty or upper level classes. The district saved nearly $5 million with the class size increase.
The school system is considering adding online classes for the county’s four smallest schools. Classes being considered include honors Algebra II, honors junior-level English and honors modern world history. An Advanced Placement physics course also may be offered.
According to Stacey Adamiak, principal of Frederick County’s Virtual School, students could complete courses in a way that offers more flexibility than they have now. They could accomodate after school activities, sports, and work outside of regular classroom hours. A teacher would visit the class every two weeks for face to face discussion.