Crunch time for course selections
November 13, 2018
Course selections dates are hardly a pressing thought for most students. Typically, the day comes some time during January at the start of second semester, but one decision from the district has completely changed the way students and faculty are viewing course selections.
For the school year of 2018-2019, the time for students to pick their courses for the next school year is changed from mid January to the beginning of November.
At a glance, a decision like this may appear unreasonable or unnecessary, but the administration saw a moved up timeline of course selections as the best way to prepare for staffing changes for different courses.
“For highschool, [staffing] changes each year depending which classes students pick out,” Mrs. Feldkamp-Pradhan, a counselor, said. “Depending on how students pick classes really affects staffing needs. With all the different levels, we don’t even know [how many teachers are needed].”
An example given from YSS regarding a change in staffing correlated to change in classes was the introduction of the junior year social studies course American Studies. The addition of American Studies into course offerings affected the numbers of students in AP U.S. History classes, ACP U.S. History classes, and regular U.S. History classes.
A shift of the number of students in classes greatly affects the assignment of teachers for each classes. An earlier course selection process would hope to relieve the issues resulting in shifts in new classes by giving the district a better idea of which teachers are needed for which classes.
“I think one of the big reasons the change happened especially at the highschool level was trying to make some staffing decisions earlier on,” Feldkamp-Pradhan said.
Despite the earlier course selections resulting in a smoother staffing process, many students are anxious to determine their upcoming year with little experience from this current year to lean on.
“I don’t know how I am supposed to decide my entire senior year when I haven’t even completed the first semester of my junior year,” junior Grace Maietta said. “I don’t know how well I’m going to do in the classes I’m taking right now.”
Some seniors are happy to be graduating before this new policy of an earlier course selection date impacts them.
“It doesn’t affect me in anyway shape or form because I’m a senior but I’m sure for you juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, it’s a big inconvenience,” senior Connor Saurbier said.
Upperclassmen and underclassmen alike are feeling the pressure to make a decision for the upcoming year, but feel as though they are not ready to make those decisions.
“I don’t like that course selections are moved,” sophomore Emily Ebsen said. “It’s good to at least finish your first semester and see how you’re doing in that class in order to figure out what class would be good for next year.”
Not only do students feel negatively about the new dates for course selections, but teachers are also feel torn on how to guide students into their upcoming classes for next year.
“The problem for us as teachers right now is it’s hard to determine where your talents lie,” said math department chair and math teacher Mr. Zamora. “So trying to help you figure out where your talents lie makes it a little tougher for us to say ‘this is where I think you are absolutely best suited.’”
Although it is difficult to choose classes this early in the year, it would be equally as difficult for the staffing for each class to effectively planned without an earlier course date. High schools classes are considered more difficult to staff rather than elementary school classes due to the wide range of classes taken in high school.
“It’s different in high school than in elementary school because in an elementary school when you have 50 third graders, you know you’ll have about 50 fourth graders to plan for two teachers for the fourth grade,” Feldkamp-Pradhan said. “For high school, it changes each year depending which classes students pick out.”
In light of an earlier course selection date, be sure to pick classes carefully this year Dukes.