Frances Grodsky and Maya Stone, Grade 9, Staff Writers
For most in New York City, a class size of 32 kids is standard. But here at the High School of American Studies, it’s anything but normal. That’s exactly why the Class of 2025 is such an anomaly.
126 students are in this year’s freshmen class, whereas a normal class size is about 100. So, what changed, and how does the school community feel about it?
The ever-changing public high school admissions process largely accounts for the larger-than-normal class size. Unlike past years, most students did not get offers to both a specialized and non-specialized school. Especially for those who did not have private school as an option, the high school choice was limited.
“I did not apply to private school this year, only regular admission to public schools and specialized schools,” said Isaac Allen, a freshman at HSAS. “The only offer that I received was from HSAS.” Ultimately Allen, like many other freshmen this year, had only one option when picking schools, HSAS.
Other students had a multitude of offers but still picked HSAS. “For regular admission, I got into iSchool, specialized, HSAS, obviously, and private (Xavier and Fordham Prep),” said Max Hauser, another freshman at HSAS. As in past years, many students made the decision to attend HSAS even with other options.
The larger class size has ramifications not only for students, but also for teachers. “I do think it's better for both the teacher and the students when class size is smaller,” said Ms. Rice, the freshmen and sophomore Global History teacher at HSAS. “I am very slow at grading, so it does make me rethink assignments. And with larger class sizes, it's easier for someone to slip through the cracks.”
Regardless, Ms. Rice still enjoys teaching her classes this year. “While it's not ideal to have so many students, I have two really good groups, and we are making the best of it,” she said.
However, some teachers don’t have as many qualms with the larger class size. “NYC teachers have an expectation that our classes can be as large as 34,” said Mr. Elinson, the freshman U.S. History teacher. My largest class this year is 32, making it well within expectations.”
Mr. Elinson believes that the pandemic has disrupted the classroom dynamic, possibly more than the larger class size. “Sitting in rows and the wearing of masks is absolutely throwing me off my usual stride,” he said. “I cannot separate out that effect from simply having a larger class size at this time.”
It will be interesting to see if this class size sets a precedent or if previous numbers remain the norm.
The High School of American Studies Class of 2025 has 126 students. Compared to the Class of 2006 (pictured), this is a huge increase.