by Leah Peloff ‘18
For the upcoming school year, the counseling department is working to eliminate the two-week grace period in September in which students can request schedule changes. This means limiting what consists of a valid reason to change one’s schedule. For example, no last-minute elective switches nor requests for a different teacher or different period simply for the student’s convenience will be permitted.
Although not yet set in stone, these changes have been laid out in a letter which is set to be sent out to the students prior to the end of this school year. The letter states how “requests after [June 30] will be more difficult to fulfill due to limited class space.”
This change has been a priority of the counseling department for some time now, considering the large inconvenience that schedule changes impose. Last year, there were 475 schedule changes made in the first few weeks of school, making up about 23 percent of the student population. Fifty-three percent of these changes constituted a swap of electives.
The letter also explains why these changes need to be made. Specifically, the counselors feel that when no rules or limitations are in place, counselors feel obligated to do everything in their power to meet the students’ requests. “This often means some classes greatly exceed capacity while some don’t come close,” explained McKenna. It is simply too difficult to rearrange the whole lineup of schedules, that counselors spend an abundance of time perfecting, in a way that properly suits everyone without disruption.
The schedule changes impact teachers too. Many teachers would like to see an accurate roster of their incoming students before the school year starts, but with such massive numbers of schedule changes, this is impossible. Additionally, some classrooms physically do not have enough seats to accommodate the flood of students requesting to be switched into their class.
When planning the proposal for Principal Bill Gregory, the counseling department points out how “many schedule changes are not allowed at all in other schools, such as Blake. Other schools only allow the change after a conference with a parent, counselor, student, and administrator,” said McKenna.
When the counselors say “eliminate” schedule changes, they do not mean every request. They have no intention of stopping students who suddenly feels as though they should have taken AP NSL but signed up for honors NSL from upgrading their course difficulty. Similarly, if one is feeling extremely overwhelmed by the rigor of their course load, McKenna explained that the counselors will still be willing to work with students, allowing them to switch from AP classes down to honors or on-level. They draw the line, however, on the requests that are merely for the student’s convenience; for example, switching from the period one volleyball class to the period three volleyball class so a student can be with friends will not be made the counselor’s priority.
Despite the initial shock students may feel about the change, McKenna insists it is not intended to hurt them. Their intention is simply to avoid too much disruption to their original master schedule and make sure no classes are going way past their set capacity. These proposed changes still have to be pitched to Mr. Gregory, but they are under-way.