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Daniel Caesar
Daniel Caesar
May 20, 2024

Forest Grove High Needs An Expansion

Forest+Grove+High+Needs+An+Expansion

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For over 110 years, Forest Grove High School (FGHS) has been the home of the Vikings. Our school has a large community, taking students from Cornelius, Dilley, and Gales Creek. While this size of the school has been sufficient for decades, it has fallen short in recent years. The building has been updated over the century, but the last major remodeling was over 10 years ago. With the city rapidly growing and the class sizes increasing by dozens every year, it is clear that our high school needs another, more drastic expansion. A second school building is necessary.

First, it is ridiculous that our school district has one high school for seven elementary schools, including the students coming in from private schools and homeschooling. There needs to be more room in this building for all of these students. When this building was made, FGHS had far fewer students, thousands fewer. Forest Grove High School had 1,777 students in the 2013-2014 school year. During the 2022-2023 school year, we had 1,952 students, barely shy of 2,000. That’s a difference of about 200 new students in only 9 years. The numbers alone should tell you that something is up. If you still need convincing, try going up the main stairway between classes, or worse, getting to lunch. Our hallways are a mess of pushing, shoving, and blocking, and passing time is a crowded hell. 

Our class sizes are also hurting as a result. In my Algebra 2 class, every single seat is full. The size of gen ed classes is being pushed to the maximum. The best student-to-teacher ratio for student success is 18:1 at the maximum. At the high school, there are many classes with more than 20 students run by one teacher. This is not healthy for students learning, and will only get worse if we continue to ignore the problem. The teacher physically cannot give every student the help they need because classes are too large. More than one high school building is needed for the Forest Grove School District to spread the students across more classrooms, limiting the size.

While expanding our current school is an option, making a second building altogether is the better solution. There has been some consideration for instating a high school in Cornelius. This would dramatically reduce the stress on FGHS’ walls, and Hillsboro High School would also face less overcrowding. Another thing to consider about this is that a potential Cornelius High School would have a large amount of Spanish speakers. Echo Shaw Elementary, a Cornelius elementary school, has recently implemented a dual-language system, with classes taught in both English and Spanish. Many students who did well in this system would feel more comfortable with a dual-language high school to choose from. 

Building a Cornelius High School would have cons too. Cornelius is a large Latino community, with its population being an estimated about 51% Latino/Hispanic. If the district had two high schools to choose from with one being Spanish-dominated, it’s likely that most of the Spanish-speaking students would choose to go to school in Cornelius. This could divide the school district into the “white high school” and the “Latino high school,” and by extension, divide the community. Obviously, this is not a desired outcome. However, if it was managed properly, I believe having a Cornelius High School would be beneficial overall for the district and the community.

While Cornelius looks to be the most likely location for a second high school building, anything would improve the school environment dramatically. The current school building has been expanded many times, and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be again. In its current state, our high school cannot hold the growing community. As the community of Forest Grove grows, its school must too. 

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Ava Rapport, Editor
Ava Rapport is an editor of the Advocate and a junior at FGHS. She loves reading and writing and is an energetic, determined learner.

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  • A

    aDec 24, 2023 at 1:19 pm

    Instead of setting a boundary to divide the school district between east and west, it should be one that divides the district between north and south (of Pacific Avenue). That would limit the potential racial divide from the creation of a second high school

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  • K

    KelsiNov 14, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    Great article! I’m honestly surprised there are not more than 1,935 students. My Algebra 2 class right now has 39 students with just 1 teacher.

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