Minot Public middle schools bursting at the seams

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As the back to school dust begins to settle, classrooms are filling up fast in the bigger-city schools across the region.

One school is taking strides to accommodate the number of students.

“It’s … it’s crowded,” seventh-grade teacher Pete Stenberg said.

Jim Hill Middle School is over capacity by more than 70 students.

To look at it another way, there are usually about 250 in 7th grade.

This year, there are 295, and that’s after Ramstad Middle School took on 35 of what would’ve been Jim Hill students.

Stenberg’s biggest class is 28 students, which he said can interfere with space, noise, and his ability to give individual attention.

“It progressively gets to be harder and harder to get to everybody,” he said, “when you are doing lab situations or assignments and so forth or introducing something new.”

In a perfect world, he said a class of about 20 would be best. But some teachers have classes as big as 30.

Some students may take desks out to the hall for more space, teachers are sharing classrooms, and 10 of those classrooms are portables.

Lunchrooms and hallways are crowded So much so students and staff hear the bells ring double what they normally would.

The staggered bells help to free up the congestion during transition times.

What Jim Hill Middle School is doing works for now, but the growth seems to be steady.

The 2020 graduating class will have about 450 students walk the stage next spring, but the kindergarten class – graduating in 2032 – currently has more than 700 students in it.

“As we move this forward, we just need to be creative in a way that we meet the needs of this growing population,” Superintendent Dr. Mark Vollmer said.

There are 7,730 students enrolled in Minot Public Schools this year.

At Jim Hill, it’s getting really close to the point that not every student would have a locker. Right now, there are 800 lockers and 794 students.

So adding a couple of banks of lockers may be another thing that the school considers for next year.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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