Is 2,000 Students More Than the Walls of Urbana High School Can Hold?


Lily Woodham, Reporter

It’s 10:35, the bell rings after 2nd block. Hundreds of students start rushing out of the classrooms. Packed like sardines, teenagers are pushing through the hallways, trying to find their next destination.

Urbana High School is a top 15 school in Maryland and the best public high school in Frederick County. They have high academics with 78% mathematical proficiency and 84% reading proficiency according to US News. Both of these are almost double the state average.

Not only is Urbana successful in the classrooms, but also out on the sports field. Over the past couple of years Urbana has had a very successful athletic program with multiple regional and state championships, the most recent being the girls volleyball team and girls track and field winning states in 2022. Although it may look good on paper, students that attend Urbana High School have a different opinion on the way that school operates.

Built in 1995, Urbana High School has rapidly increased in population. Currently there are over 1,940 students enrolled in Urbana High School. This is where the issues arise due to the fact that UHS houses a couple hundred over the school’s capacity.

Urbana is also home to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, best known as the IB program. This allows for students throughout the county to come to UHS as a part of this rigorous program. The IB program is responsible for over 200 students, which although allowing for advanced opportunities, it also fills the halls of Urbana.

When talking to students across the school it is evident that students feel the school is overpopulated. According to multiple students this is shown through the hallway traffic and trying to get in and out of the school everyday.

In 2005, there were two extension wings added to the school in order to fit more people. I talked to Ana Kenst, a sophomore at Urbana High School and when asked if she would want more to be built onto Urbana, she said, “The school building is a decent size, it’s just we are trying to fit too many people in it.” More being built onto the school would take a lot of money and time, and due to other schools in the county also exceeding their limit, there is nowhere for the current Urbana students to go.

  The hallway traffic is only a problem for the 5 minutes between classes, however the class sizes affect the way that students learn. The average class size in Maryland public high schools is 18 students, which for the majority of students at Urbana, that would be the smallest class they have ever been in. Most classes at UHS average around 30 students. Students agree with classes this size, their learning is affected. A junior at Urbana, Laila Kenney, told us that “Classes are a lot more full and that limits 1 on 1 attention from the teacher which makes it harder for the students to stay focused.” With overpacked classes, it is difficult for the teacher to have more hands-on activities for students who learn best that way because there are not enough materials for an entire class. 

  As someone looks from the outside in, Urbana appears dominant with their top tier academics and athletics. However, many students don’t feel as if they can get everything out of their education and high school experience due to the school and classrooms overflowing. Is Urbana really as great and functional as it may seem? 


Urbana High School in Ijamsville, MD – US news best high schools. U.S. News. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2023, from