Perry Hall High Ranks 7th in Classroom Size

The Baltimore Sun released a ranking of Baltimore County high schools with the highest average class sizes.

UPDATE (5 p.m.)—Baltimore County's also has some of the most crowded classrooms.

According to a Baltimore Sun report, ranks seventh in the county with 25.1 percent of classes with 30 or more students. ranks first with 36.3 percent.

Perry Hall is currently about 4 percent over-capacity with a total enrollment of 2,199 students, according to the school's county profile

The school faced budget cuts last year and was forced to .

In response to the Sun article on class sizes, Baltimore County Public Schools officials announced on Monday afternoon, "There is no empirical research that links student performance to class size."

Also stated in the release: "Baltimore County high school class averages—reported as ranging between 19 and 25 students this year—compare favorably with state and national average class sizes (about 23 students) even before the nation’s economic downturn."

County and state officials have frequently shared their to serve the Perry Hall and White Marsh areas. The need for the school is noted in the , which was approved by the county in 2011.

Does class size have a real impact on students' education? Where should a second high school serving area students be located? Tell us in the comments.

Steven J May 14, 2012 at 08:35 PM
It's nice the county is finally realizing PHHS is overcrowded. They have had the portable classrooms (about 10 of them) for as long as I can remember. I would like to know what kind of math the county is using. If the school was built for 1800 students, then 4% would mean their population is around 1872 students. The story says they have about 2200 students (at back to school night the principal said the population was almost 2500 students). If it's only 2200 students, that's about 22% overcrowded! At 2500 students, that would be nearly 40%!!! I find it interesting Dundalk is getting a new HS, to be combined with Sollers Tech. Dundalk also has about 9 senior or community centers as well. DHS didn't even make the Balto Sun top 10 list. There is also a plan to build a new one along with a new Police Precinct (which they dearly need)on the property of the abandoned Seagrams Distillery. How many does Perry Hall have? Two that I can think of.
Steven J May 14, 2012 at 08:36 PM
It seems these community "amenities" are directly related to how loud the voice of representation is. Dundalk has always had a very strong political presence. For that I sincerely say good for them. For years Perry Hall has had almost no voice in county government. Mr. Marks has done more in his first year in office than his predecessor ever did. Unfortunately for my children this is a day late and a dollar short. By the time a new PH school is planned, bid out and built, they may very well have children of their own (they are Freshmen at PHHS now). To Mr. Marks, I say keep up the good work. I know we will disagree at times but I hope you know you have my support.
Tim May 14, 2012 at 09:04 PM
I am not disagreeing with you at all, but I am going to guess that the '4%' is including all of the portable classrooms outside of the school itself. Shouldn't count though, imho, those should be temporary solutions - you know, while a new high school is built to handle demand.
Paul Amirault May 14, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Hate to be the fly in your cereal, but before anyone builds another school, redistricting needs to be seriously examined. Harford County does it routinely, Baltimore County does not. There is extra capacity in the system and should be used.
Steven J May 14, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Tim, you may be right. If you count 10 portables at 30 students each that gives you only 100 over which is closer to the 4%. You may say I'm crazy but on the surface, portable classrooms look like a great idea. It gives you more educational room. I know of a private school that is made entirely of trailers linked together as one building. It's a very nice school and cost effective. However, when you add trailers to a brick and mortar school, the problem is not the quality of the trailer but where do you put the kids for lunch. PHHS cafeteria can only hold less than 500 students before they violate capacity limits of the fire code. If there is an emergency, the doors in the cafeteria cannot accomodate the extra students. Someone will get hurt. They have 4 lunch periods. Unless you make the kids eat at 10:00am or during last period you can't fit any more lunch periods. This problem is not exclusively a PHHS problem. It happens at ALL the overcrowded schools.
Pete R. May 14, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Towson High in the sixties 19 64 & 1965 had class sizes of 60 students, so I can't be too sympathetic. What are you going to do raise more taxes for O'Mally and friends to squander?
Chris May 14, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Perry Hall High School needs a new high school but for some reason I don't see it coming. Should be built out near Kingsville but instead they will build houses is my guess. I was so hoping my son would be in a new high school but it is now wishful thinking. Overcrowding in classrooms definitely impact the kids, especially those with learning disabilities. They should be concerned that our elementary school has 29 kids in each of the first grades - insane!
Evets May 14, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Build a new high school? Great idea. Of course, I don't want it built in my neighborhood...
Other Tim May 14, 2012 at 11:17 PM
I went to Baltimore City College (Preparatory High School) from 1962 to 1965. For the 3 years I was there, I went to school half days. First half of the year was 8am- noon, then second half 12:30pm to 4:30pm. At the time City was a well respected college prep school.
Steven J May 14, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Paul, yes, we need to look at redistricting. That will help alot but it won't solve everything. In Perry Hall, If they took all the students from Pine Grove MS and moved them to Loch Raven HS, PHHS probably wouldn't be over crowded. Pete, In the 60's and 70's that was not an unusual class size. However, progress never sleeps and I'm sure there have been studies that show it's better learning in a smaller class. If not, do you think class size of 50+ children would ever have left us? We all made it through to the other side but wouldn't it be nice if we could give our kids better than what we had? Isn't that what being a parent is all about?
JD1 May 15, 2012 at 04:27 AM
This information is very misleading on a couple of counts: classes of 30 - 32 make up the bulk of those classes "over 30" and not classes that approach 40. Secondly, most of the teachers that we cut were not in critical areas. Like many high schools, Perry Hall had a ton of electives and AP courses with enrollments in some cases of less that 10 students. At a time when the budget is tight, we can do away with the fluff. Students can take AP courses online. Kids who have special interests can take advantage of programs at CCBC. High school kids, particularly juniors and seniors should be able to handle classes in the 30's. When they hit college, they will be in freshman classes with over one hundred students. The biggest issue at Perry Hall is the crowded and chaotic hallways and stairwells.
David Marks May 15, 2012 at 12:05 PM
The overcrowding situation is the very reason why I am looking at the development potential of more than 480 acres in the Fifth District, including 55 acres immediately to the southeast of Perry Hall High School. At the current zoning, the 55 acres could be developed for as many as 190 homes, irrespective of environmental conditions.
Daya Chaney-Webb May 15, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Seven Oaks Elementary's (in PH) average 1st grade size this year is near 30 in three classes. They needed to have another teacher hired, but were denied. As a classroom volunteer, I've seen the need for more adults in a class this size, and only sometimes this is possible. The younger students in the class (and kids with learning disabilities) typically suffer in this case because the teacher is unable to give them the attention they truly need. Parents need to hold the schools accountable for their children's success, do research on best practices in education, and demand appropriate education -- it's the law! I moved to Perry Hall for it's blue ribbon schools. Unfortunately what I have seen is less than I thought....And it's not the fault of the schools, it's policy makers making mistakes and the Board of Education (Especially the Office of Special Education) failing our children.
Daya Chaney-Webb May 15, 2012 at 03:39 PM
While there may be no empirical evidence linking classroom size and student success specifically, there most certainly is empirical evidence that finds best practice for behavior management in a classroom requires closer relationships with the teacher and the availability for time-sampled behavior observations (15 second intervals, 90 times). Only with accurate measurements for pre-intervention can the efficacy of an intervention be measured post-intervention. How can a school uphold this best practice with classes this size? The answer to that question is they ARE NOT! Instead, schools in Baltimore County turn to 504 plans for students that show no disability but are unresponsive to quasi-interventions, or suspension/removal.
Jimmy May 15, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Jd1, you are speaking like a school administrator. Phhs had to cut elective and ap courses. True students can go to ccbc, but they shouldn't have to. With reduction of ap classes, our students will be less likely to be considered by better colleges. If they take courses after school, they are loosing time for sports and clubs which are valuable in college acceptance as well. Either way we are doing a dis~service to the students.
Steven J May 15, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I agree with Jimmy, The school system has always provided many worthwhile electives, AP, honors and GT classes. If the kids have to find these resources elsewhere, when will they have time to be kids. I know there are many out there that say HS students are not children, but the fact is they are. They still are developing their personality, finding where they fit into society and are still growing. They need sleep, nourishment and rest - both physical and intelectual. If they get up at 5:30 to get ready for schoo, get home at 2:30, do their homework, go to sports practices or games, attend a school function, go to college at night to get the classes the HS no longer offers, comes home and does homework from college, when do they have time to eat, sleep and socialize? (to be continued...)
Steven J May 15, 2012 at 09:32 PM
But the point of this article is OVERCROWDING, not the loss of "fluff" as JD1 so put it (good attempt at misdirection - you obviously are a school administrator). The truth is as I stated before, the school was built for 1800 students and there are 2500 enrolled this year. Even with the full compliment of teachers last year, the classes had more than 30 in them. SO WHAT if the AP classes only had 10. The gen-ed classes were overcrowded. There are not enough doors, or hallways or stairways to accomodate the number of students in an emergency. And BTY JD1, Who is going to pay for students to take the classes at CCBC? The less fortunate also have special interests and are smart enough to take AP and college level classes. If they can't get "fluff" at the HS as an elective, then only the wealthy will be able to take classes they are "interested in" .
JD1 May 15, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Sorry but I'm not an administrator - I have been in the classroom teaching for 20 years. I actually can't stand dealing with administrators as many of them couldn't wait to get out of the classroom and wouldn't know good instruction if it hit them in the forehead. Unfortunately, we are in a position where tough choices have to be made because the system like most others is in a budget crunch. Schools are crowded because politicians decided years ago that it was a good idea to load the area with housing. BCPS resources are not allocated equally - high need schools in the southeast and southwest are loaded with staff and high tech toys (I.e. Chesapeake HS and it's multimillion dollar virtual learning lab). Thoughtful cuts to central office administrative staff have not occurred. The system spent millions on the notoriously failed AIM system. The system spent millions on the ISO quality assurance joke. Warehouses are loaded with textbooks and computers that have yet to hit the classroom. This is a very complicated problem and I look forward to the solutions that will be offered up by our new super, but let's just say, I'm not hopeful! So back to the main topic - id rather have a math teacher who works with 130 kids each day than an AP teacher who works with 30. (By the way, AP courses don't carry the weight with colleges that they used to - schools are enrolling tons of kids that can't handle the rigor and don't even attempt taking the exam)
Paul May 15, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Yea! What she said!
diana K May 15, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Overcrowding was the main topic, both in the hallways and cafeteria. Yet, no one ever considers 12 month school. Students in different tracks alternating every few weeks to months would alleviate a good portion of the overcrowding issue. AP or no AP is not relevant. Good grades and a diverse background will do the job in most cases. Losing 18 teachers at PHHS is worrisome especially since some teachers there don't even have set classrooms and wander from room to room depending on which is available, making keeping track of materials difficult for both the teachers and students. Redistricting should be considered but so should 12 month school. Empirical data does show an improvement for those who are schooled year round. 4-6 weeks not wasted at the beginning of every school year while teachers reteach the previous year in FF.
JD1 May 16, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Year round school would be great for kids, but you would need to find the $$ to pay the teachers for two extra months. There is also the issue of millions in list revenue generated from vacations to ocean city ...etc. We have a system that is fundamentally broken and it will take some completely out of the box solutions. School change is always slow and painful - the status quo always wins. Revenues come down to choices - more teachers vs athletic programs/ music programs vs computers/ new stage vs new track. There are always strong lobbies on each side which result in no net change. How about "slots for teachers!"
Jimmy May 16, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Year round school wouldn't work here. We have too many schools with no air conditioning. Then as JD said, we would have to pay the teachers more - then they wouldn't be able to complain about low salaries! As well as lost revinue at vacation spots, there is always the increased cost to run the AC, have lights on, cleaning, fuel use for cooking, and the list goes on. Year round school will cause more problems than it solves. As far as the slotts revenue going to education, it does but then in the wonderful wisdom of the state politicians, they took the money they were giving schools and put it elsewhere. So, the schools didn't end up any better off.
Kim Ruark May 15, 2013 at 02:24 PM
And they will take 5 of the 9 trailers, excuse me, "learning cottages", out this summer? I don't understand how these decisions are made. It doesn't seem like they are going in the right direction.


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