Photo of Corbett High School’s building taken after a school day on April 4, 2023. The photo shows the “small” high school talked about in the article. Photo by Tatumn Hills. 

Franklin High School is a big school, ranked as the 15th biggest school in the state of Oregon by the Public School Review in 2023. However, on that same list, all the way down at 75th, is Corbett School. Not just “Corbett High School,” but the entirety of their K-12 population, is down at 75th.  

Here at Franklin, there are 1,881 students, according to Vice Principals Alfredo Quintero and Scott Burns. We are classified by the National Center for Education Statistics as being a part of a “Large” territory. We are not eligible for Title 1 status, which provides additional funding to schools with high percentages of low-income students. As for police presence, we have consistent contact with a District Police Bureau Liaison, and police presence is available as a response to safety concerns. Event-wise, we have school dances with around 250 people in attendance, like the Winter Formal. We have a campus totaling 250,000 square feet according to Sonya Harvey, Franklin’s business manager. Included in this campus is a modern gymnasium, performing arts center, and multiple modernized classrooms. These can be attributed to a renovation that occurred from 2015 to 2017.

Corbett School, on the other hand, is located in what is classified as a “Fringe” territory in Corbett, Oregon, an unincorporated community along the Columbia River in the eastern parts of Multnomah County. The high school specifically only has 320 students between 9th and 12th grades, and their campus is only 41,548 square feet for the entire high school, according to the Corbett School District website. Corbett, unlike Franklin, is a Title 1 school. According to their superintendent, Derek Fialkiewicz, Corbett is the “second least funded school district in Oregon when you look at per pupil funding.” The reason for this is that Corbett is somewhat stuck in the middle in terms of population, explained by Fialkiewicz when he said, “We are a small district but were not so small, that we are considered a ‘small’ district to Oregon, so we don’t get extra funding for being a small district, but we also don’t get extra funding for having lots of students.” Police presence is equally as scarce as funding, with one officer technically being assigned to the school, but often being pulled away due to issues in more populated areas. Dances typically max out at around 150 attendees. 

Jackson Minsker, Corbett High School senior, believes that smaller class sizes often lead to a more personal relationship developing between students and teachers. This is something that is backed up by studies like the one conducted by education professors titled: “Class Size and Teacher Work: Research Provided to the BCTF in their Struggle to Negotiate Teacher Working Conditions,” published by the Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy in 2021. Smaller class sizes are something Corbett prides itself on. “Our main goal is to keep class sizes as low as possible, most of our class sizes in the district are 25, in our high school we average around 27,” states Fialkiewicz. Owen Kellon, a Franklin junior, believes that at Franklin more students means it’s “harder to focus on individual people.” While at Corbett, Minsker believes that “there is a definite feeling of forced social interaction because there are so little other people to interact with.”

Community aspects between the two schools are also different, with Franklin often having very closed-off social circles. “There are a lot of individual groups,” adds Kellon. At Corbett, everyone knows everyone. “I’ve been going to school with everyone since second grade,” says Minsker. However, the tight-knit community for Corbett can present some social challenges. “[There is a] much more limited community of people; if you want to make new friends it’s much harder,” says Minsker. 

According to Quintero, “The biggest difference between a big school that has our student population and a school that has like 500 or 600 students is the number of course offerings.” He adds that at “a bigger school, you’re gonna probably be able to offer a bigger range of courses, and I think that’s also something families look at.” This is backed up by Corbett’s smaller array of extracurriculars, consisting largely of just the most common of offerings, like basketball, football, soccer, theater, etc. Furthermore, most of these programs are smaller than that of Franklin’s.

However, similarities between the two schools do exist, as attendance percentages are nearly identical. Corbett’s attendance rates are around 85% on a typical school day, just like Franklin’s. Additionally, both schools participate in sports through the Oregon School Activities Association, which streamlines and organizes high school athletics. However, Corbett competes in 3A leagues, while Franklin competes in the larger 6A leagues.

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