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By Aly Tantawy
This school year, it has become increasingly apparent that the student body is much larger than in previous years. Halls and classes are more crowded and an extra lunch band has been incorporated to accommodate the school’s population. Townsend Harris is a small school known for its close-knit community. However, this year the amount of students in the school has exceeded previous numbers.
A typical grade size is 270 students in this school, but most of the grades exceed that number. Class of 2019 is the largest with a total of 298 students, followed by the Class of 2018 with 292, Class of 2016 with 281, and Class of 2017 with 262 students. The school states that the reason it accepts a plethora of students is to balance out the number that graduated the previous year. The school may be trying to balance out the number of students in each grade by accepting more students a certain year, but it is clear there is still disproportion. The increase in the number of students has led to multiple changes that affect not only the incoming class, but the entire student body and faculty.
Among these changes is a brunch-lunch band during Band 4. This lunch band is composed almost entirely of freshmen with approximately twenty sophomores and twenty juniors. While each class still has the legal 34 student limit, the average class sizes have seen a steady increase in recent years. This increase in class size directly affects students, as there is a strong correlation between student performance and class size. Students tend to do better in smaller classroom environments. In order to keep the small class environment, the administration must lower the number of students accepted.
The school typically sends out 550 to 600 acceptance letters per year, expecting approximately half of those students to accept. Last year, 598 letters were sent out, of which 298 accepted. To combat this large class size, the school should gradually decrease the number of acceptance letters it sends out, thus decreasing the size of the incoming class size. The target grade size should be around 250 students, as was the average in years past. This target is not attainable in a single year, but his course of action will progressively stabilize the grade size. THHS has often prided itself on being a school large enough to to foster diversity while being small enough to retain the treasured student-teacher interaction factor. If the school continues on the path it is taking, this student-teacher interaction factor will be lost and the Townsend Harris image will be ruined.