Class sizes up to 57 students in physical education classes have teachers concerned about student safety and learning. Currently, the average PE class size at CVHS is 43 students.
While the contract for most classes states that the class limit is 35 students, this contract does not apply to physical education classes which tend to be larger. For example, teacher Shari Rodriguez’s zero period class has had as many as 59 students.
John Green, a teacher and president of the Castro Valley Teachers Association, said that despite the district’s poor financial shape, it would not be impossible to employ more PE teachers. He believes that this would help solve many of the problems PE teachers are facing as a result of the class increase.
Assistant Superintendent Sherri Beetz believes that the PE class sizes are reasonable and within contract guidelines.
“You can look at this from two different angles,” explained Beetz. “One would be to reallocate the existing staff as long as there are appropriately credentialed teachers to fill in the new sections. Additional staff could be added but it would be an additional expense. Personally, I feel the class sizes in PE are reasonable and in compliance with the CVTA contract. It would be nice to hire more staff and lower class sizes in PE as well as every other subject area.”
PE teacher John Edwards described the many downfalls of a large class. First, there is a lack of supervision, as it is difficult for the teacher to watch and assess fifty students at a time. There is also limited field space and equipment, and the class increase has already affected the amount of sports that can be played throughout the year.
PE teachers fear that parents as well as others will blame the administration for lack of supervision or injuries.
“We’re just concerned for the liability of the teachers,” said Green. “We don’t want anyone to get sued.”
Edwards believes that there are solutions to this predicament. He thinks that having one more female PE teacher would solve most or all of the problems caused by the large class sizes, such as locker room supervision.
“Our department consists of very knowledgeable and capable individuals who are passionate about what we do. Smaller class sizes would not only provide us a safer environment to share our passion, it would allow us to get to know our students on a personal level, the way other departments do,” Edwards explained.