In March, the Glenbrook High School District 225 Board of Education received enrollment projections from two contracted demographers, both of whom confirmed that student populations at Glenbrook South will continue to increase in the next few years while the student populations at Glenbrook North will decrease. While the student enrollment at GBS is expected to stabilize and even decrease by 2020-2021, the Board discussed the importance of maintaining equity among students at both schools.
“We always knew that GBS would be the larger of the two schools, given that our district boundaries generally mirror those of the communities of Glenview and Northbrook,” said Board President Skip Shein. “An important question, regardless of growing enrollment at one school, is “Are we providing an equitable opportunity for students at both schools?”
To examine that question, the administrative team collected data on student participation levels, financial support, and facilities in each of the three areas that comprise the Glenbrook high school experience: academics, activities, and athletics.
“The data demonstrates that while we allow our schools the financial flexibility to make site-based decisions to meet student interests and needs, overall, student opportunities at both schools are comparable and equitable,” said Superintendent Dr. Mike Riggle. “They are not intended to match exactly since the schools serve different populations.”
In the area of academics, the findings concluded that a consistent staffing formula efficiently maintains equitable class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios at both schools. Course offerings have been equitable at the both schools in the past, and are expected to be even more so as GBS transitions to the block schedule for the 2014-15 school year. Findings also show that GBS is able to provide a wider variety of courses, while GBN drops courses of low enrollment at a higher rate.
A capacity study concluded that GBS has ample general classrooms to support a student population of 3,100. However, one potential area of concern is in Glenbrook South’s ability to accommodate specialty classroom needs such as science labs, and there may be a need for additional office space. The area of fine arts may need additional support at GBS to function effectively for a higher student population.
Findings in the areas of activities and athletics were similar, demonstrating high student participation levels and opportunities at both schools. The schools are given the flexibility to create clubs and sports based on student interest, making some clubs and sports more popular at one school than the other.
Areas of concern in activities and athletics centered around the need to increase opportunities for students at GBS as the population grows. This would translate into a need for additional coaches and sponsors, sports levels, and performance opportunities. It was also noted that both schools are reaching their facilities capacities in the areas of performance and rehearsal spaces, and athletic venues and practice areas.
“The Glenbrooks provide an extensive array of academic and extracurricular opportunities for students,” said Dr. Riggle. “It’s important that we don’t lose sight of all of the amazing offerings, even as we work to enhance those opportunities in the future.”
At the next scheduled meeting on May 12, the administrative team will bring recommendations to address opportunity concerns for students at GBN and GBS in the coming years.