The start of the school year always brings bustle and a subtle chaos to all involved, especially those in the junior and senior high schools. New classes, new teachers, class meetings and stacks of school paperwork often mark the first week. Teachers must learn new faces and assess their new class populations for the year. Also with the beginning of the year come scheduling problems. Directed more toward the high school, where students choose their courses, the guidance office is always a zoo.
As of March 2012, a new rule has been implemented concerning course changes. In an attempt to reduce the disarray the guidance department experiences early in the year, students are not allowed to add, drop or substitute classes. Unless is it an approved level change (dropping down from Honors-level to A-level), students are fixed in the classes and electives they chose for themselves the previous year.
For students, this means that even if you have an elective you really dislike, or a certain class you would rather take the next year, you are pretty much frozen where you are. For teachers, this means that there will be much less shifting your rosters and seating plans around. For guidance, this will mean much less volume of students flooding to their counselors, allowing them to spend more time for their other obligations.
Also concerning scheduling is the new enforcement of study halls. Unless students are taking AP courses, they are not allowed to have more than one study hall per semester, in the hope of pushing students to fill that extra block with another class to further their education.
A third amendment to the rules of scheduling classes is the induction of “auditing” courses. This will generally benefit two types of students, the first being those who want to drop a class but do not have the approval of guidance for the change. This means you can tough it out in the class or perform an “audit.” In an audit, you go to the class as normal but do not receive a number or letter grade for the work you do; you will have an “audit” written on your transcript for that class. This way, should you fall behind on a certain part of the class or fail a test, it does not affect your GPA but you are still obtaining the intellectual benefits of taking the class.
The other type of students that will benefit from auditing are those who want to take a class to enrich their minds or just to learn a little on the subject without the pressure of a definitive grade at the end of the class.
These new rules will hopefully instill better planning on the part of the students and ensure a less hectic beginning of the year for the guidance department and the teachers of the high school.
By Jess Correia