So, the capacity of your school is constantly changing. What’s up with that?
Last week I discussed the Enrollment/Capacity/Trailers in Region 1 Elementary Schools. How does the school district arrive at those capacity numbers?
Austin ES Redistricting – Capacity History and Summary
Doraville United ES Redistricting – Capacity History and Summary
Prototype Elementary School Capacity Report Analysis
2017 Capacity Reports – All DeKalb Schools
Capacity Determination Guide
The functional capacity of an educational facility is defined as the number of students the facility can accommodate. The “Instructional Use Model” recognizes that the functional capacity of a school is dependent on the use of instructional spaces by educational programs offered by the school for any given year. The Instructional Use Model methodology first counts the numbers of the various types of instructional rooms in the school, which creates the school’s room inventory.
Typical room types include: general classrooms, kindergarten rooms, special education rooms, science rooms, gyms, etc. The room type inventory can change from year to year depending on the educational programs offered in the school or how the various rooms in a school are used.
The total of rooms for each room type is then multiplied by the maximum students‐per‐room (or the loading factor) to determine the capacity by room type. Loading factors vary by educational program and are comparable to a “teacher/student ratio”. The capacities of all room types are totaled to identify the gross capacity for the school.
The gross capacity for the school is then multiplied by a scheduling factor, which takes into account the realities of how the space is used, to determine the functional capacity. The scheduling factor recognizes the fact that, typically, not all classrooms are scheduled for every period at a school. For example, high school students move from room to room and enroll in a variety of courses. As a result, some rooms will sit empty or will be less than fully occupied at any given time. Teacher preparation periods will also contribute to rooms not being used for instruction at a particular time. Therefore DCSD uses a 65 percent scheduling factor to reduce the gross capacity of the building to reflect the unused rooms due to the realities of how a high school functions. Middle schools and elementary schools are assigned a 85 percent scheduling factor.
On the capacity calculation sheets, you’ll notice a line item for Adjustments (to account for over/under utilized space). If a classroom needs to be tweaked for some reason, there is also a balancing item called “Adjustments”. For example, let’s say one of the 4-5 rooms is much smaller than the others and can only hold 26 students. Then there is an adjustment of “-5” to account for that small room. The adjustment is subjective and ripe for abuse. If this number is large, then something is wrong (putting students in a classroom they shouldn’t be in, data manipulation, etc …).
The following exhibit lists the loading factors and scheduling factors used to calculate the functional capacities for DeKalb Schools. Since different scheduling and instructional models are used at elementary, middle, and high schools; the room types are divided into three levels with different loading factors at each level.
Elementary Schools – 85%
Middle Schools – 80%
High Schools – 65%
In schools with low enrollment, there could be rooms that were built for instructional use and are now being used for non‐instructional uses. These underutilized rooms should be classified as general classrooms.
Career Technological spaces many times have combination of a lab and classroom paired together. The paired is counted as one space and provided as the capacity shown in R.43 (above).
Media Centers and High School Orchestra rooms are considered instructional units by Georgia Department of Education (GA DOE). These rooms are included as their own room types but DO NOT contribute to capacity.
Classrooms in trailers are not counted.
Redistricting First Round Summary
September 30, 2019 – Amazingly overnight, the capacity of the new schools went from 900 to 950. The capacity of all other schools in the feeder pattern dropped by 5% – 20%.