Over-enrollment pains student body


Rowan Wallin

The lunchroom is so crowded, so Theo Fechtmeyer ’23 sits on the windowsill.

Sam Tomczik, Staff Writer

“Upper school enrollment over the past five years has certainly increased,” says director of admissions Joe Silvestri. Silvestri goes on to say that over enrollment is “not a term I would use” yet, “Over enrollment will decrease slightly over the next few years as we adjust the lower school size.” With this growth in enrollment, many wonder how the school is managing this increase. “It’s clear that we have more people here,” cites Paul Menge, a teacher at Blake for over 30 years. This change in enrollment is on trend with the rest of the state, as private school admissions have increased by 6% within the last few years. This has forced many private schools (including Blake) to adapt. 

This increase in students has resulted in inconveniences such as longer lunch lines, and sophomores having to sit in the Carlson Commons during assembly. Some students, such as Kiana Poul ‘24 dislike these changes. She says, “It’s literally awful, it’s so uncomfortable, my back is breaking,” and that “some days [the lunch lines] take so long and it’s really annoying.” However, Sonia Lerner ‘24, emphasizes that “compared to my old school the lunch lines are a lot shorter.”

Contrarily, the increase in students has come with benefits. Menge emphasizes that the larger class sizes allow Blake, “The opportunity to offer as many programs as we have, as many classes that we offer, as many experiences for students…because you need the participation.” In addition, he expresses that Blake has still, “[Kept] the school small enough so it still feels like a community.” 

Furthermore, there are concerns about the student-to-teacher ratio increasing, and students not getting the same experience compared to 20 years ago. However, Menge stresses that this should not be a topic for concern saying, “It’s important to know that [as Blake has] increased the student size, the school has also increased the number of faculty. It’s not like one faculty has 10 more students to teach.” In addition, Lerner highlights that at other schools, such as her old public school, there are “just too many students in those classes.” Lerner explains that “[at Blake] it’s much easier to differentiate between where students are and give more personal attention to students.” While that may be, Poul still encourages Blake to keep its student-to-teacher ratio the same, stressing that, “one of Blake’s main selling points is the special attention that students get from teachers because there are fewer students.” 

“It’s a balance when you talk about school size,” summarizes Menge. While the increase in students has resulted in some inconveniences, Blake is still able to maintain its small-school-experience, while allowing more students to attend.