Textbook shortage means less homework for Church Hill students

Jeff Bobo • Sep 12, 2007 at 12:00 AM

CHURCH HILL — They’re short a few textbooks in the sixth grade at Church Hill Middle School, which will translate into more intensive classroom instruction and less homework for students until the shortage is rectified.

The CHMS sixth-grade population was higher than anticipated at the beginning of the school year.

This was a year when new textbooks were adopted and ordered by most schools in the state, and additional books were not available by the time CHMS discovered that the sixth-grade class size had been underestimated.

Some teachers have only one set of textbooks for certain subjects, so the books stay in the classroom and are used by two or three different students in a day.

CHMS Principal William Christian said Wednesday that sixth-grade reading, social studies and sciences classes were shorted textbooks at the beginning of the year.

Christian said if they couldn’t issue books to every student, in fairness they couldn’t issue textbooks to any student.

“There was one classroom set (of textbooks) in social studies and a class set in science to start the year, and we are still short a few books in science, so they’re using a class set until that order comes in,” Christian said. “The books stay in the classroom, and if they need to study for a test they can take home their notes or they can check out a book. We’re seven or eight books short, and those are on back order, so whenever they come in they’ll issue those books.”

Director of Schools Charlotte Britton said the textbook shortage is symptomatic of a greater issue, which is that the student population continues to rise — especially in the eastern half of the county.

“I’m just glad that they approved the phase three building project,” Britton said. “A textbook shortage is inconvenient, but we can deal with that. A classroom shortage would be much worse, and that’s what we’re avoiding by building a new school in Church Hill.

“We knew we were going to have an enrollment increase this year. We prepared ourselves for it. And in the case of Church Hill’s sixth grade we still came up short.”

The additional social studies books have already come in and been distributed, and the science book orders are expected within a month.

Reading classes, however, will have to leave their books in the classroom for the rest of the school year.

“I don’t think it’s going to have a negative effect on instruction,” Christian said. “Those kids will apply themselves there (in the classroom) knowing that their teachers aren’t going to give them a lot of homework. I believe that they’ll do just fine.

“Hopefully the new science books will be in soon, and of then we’ll probably have that class set for reading for the rest of the year.”

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