The Tribal Times

Atlanta’s booming population causes increased enrollment

An+enrollment+folder+shows+the+required+documents+for+a+student+to+be+enrolled+at+McEachern.
An enrollment folder shows the required documents for a student to be enrolled at McEachern.

An enrollment folder shows the required documents for a student to be enrolled at McEachern.

photo by Andrew Okwuosah

photo by Andrew Okwuosah

An enrollment folder shows the required documents for a student to be enrolled at McEachern.

by Andrew Okwuosah, Digital Editor

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Two hundred and sixty-four students enrolled in McEachern at the beginning of this school year, according to counselor Toni Dickerson. Roughly 28 percent of these are from outside Metro Atlanta.

This is partially caused by Metro Atlanta growing at its fastest rate since the Great Recession in 2008. The Atlanta Regional Commission predicts that half a million people under the age of 18 will relocate to the region by 2040. Schools will be responsible for educating the increased population.

“We have several issues that come from a spike in new enrollments,” Dickerson said. “If we have an increase in enrollments, sometimes we can have an increase in class sizes, depending on what classes those students need. In addition, there is such a rush of new students at the beginning of the year that it’s sometimes hard to keep track of them and provide them the continuous support they may need as they transition to a new school.”

Both of these issues are magnified for schools like McEachern, which is one of the largest schools in Cobb County, Metro Atlanta’s second-largest school district.

Class sizes continue to grow despite school districts having more money to hire teachers. This causes teachers to potentially spend more time dealing with students’ behavior than teaching coursework.

“With a smaller class size, you get to know the students more,” English teacher Andrea McKelvey said. “You get a chance for one-on-one [interactions] more frequently than in a class of 35 where I don’t get the opportunity for as many one-on-one sessions.”

Increased class sizes can also make students more likely to succumb to peer pressure, and mimic the behavior of their classmates.

“If everybody else is immature and goofy, I’d probably be immature and goofy too. If we’re all serious then maybe I’d be serious as well,” senior Stephen Coulanges said.

According to Dickerson, class sizes and overall enrollment do level out as students withdraw from school throughout the year.

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Atlanta’s booming population causes increased enrollment