Words: Celina Wong
Throughout Howard County, there has been a spike in overcrowdedness of high schools. At Centennial High School, there is an evident change in the student population. Hallways are filled, the cafeteria is packed, and many new portables are acting as additional classrooms. Teachers are now starting to notice this overpopulation because of their lack of resources.
“I’ve been pretty lucky this year with books for my classes this year, but I know the numbers at Centennial are going up, so it is a concern,” said Jeremy Whitaker, current World History AP and honors teacher.
Whitaker notes that this has had a major impact throughout the social studies department at the school. Recently, teachers have resorted to photocopying sections of their books and uploading them online.
“I know photocopying doesn’t really seem to be very efficient or very cost effective. It’s very expensive to photocopy a textbook,” explained Whitaker.
Staff members have also begun utilizing previous editions of the textbook in order to account for the large influx of students.
“[Teachers] have also resorted to using old, outdated books. I’ve seen teachers pulling books that haven’t been in circulation for 15 years, so that the kids have enough resources to roughly follow along,” stated Whitaker.
One successful solution that the social studies department has adapted is borrowing books from other schools.
“I’ve reached out to other schools in the past and some of the World History books are from Atholton or Wilde Lake,” said Whitaker.
Lauren Mancini, a freshman and senior English teacher, has experienced this deficit in another way: supplies in the classroom. This ranges from the posters on the walls to the pens on the desks. Although this differs between each classroom, teachers are now in a compromising position to pick and choose what they truly are in need of.
“Sometimes, it comes down to a choice between supplies and books,” stated Mancini.
The school has recently received new computers to use in classes. These have replaced some outdated and faulty laptops.
“We just got Chromebooks, so there obviously is a lag between when we need something and when we get it,” Mancini explained.
Despite these setbacks, both teachers feel as though their responsibilities lie with making sure they are doing their best to help their students, as well as respecting the county.
“My responsibility is to be the best advocate I can for the kids,” Whitaker said, “I think it’s my job to provide for my students, as well as properly represent the county.”
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