Class Changes Cause Confusion: An Administrative Take

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Class Changes Cause Confusion: An Administrative Take

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Photo: videoblocks.com

Photo: videoblocks.com

Photo: videoblocks.com

Alys Goodwin, Staff Writer

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Whispers of dissatisfaction with class schedules and confusion about schedule changes have made their way through the halls of MLWGS these past few weeks. Despite the chatter surrounding the matter, definitive answers have not come to light. To help remedy this, Dr. Lowerre took some time to provide insight into this topic. He tried to help  us answer a few basic questions: What happens when making class schedules? Where did the problems arise? What caused this confusion, and what should we do going forward?

What happens when making class schedules?

Scheduling begins in late winter to early spring. Students are handed a course catalog and a scheduling sheet and begin the process of constructing their ideal schedules for the next year. After these scheduling sheets are collected, Dr. Lowerre and other members of administration sit down and create a “Master Schedule” based on the classes students want. It is s a difficult process that requires an immense amount of planning and strategizing. Dr. Lowerre likened the process to “a gigantic Jenga tower.” The goal of creating this master schedule is to get classes to “make,” which means filling classes with a certain number of students. After filling a class with students, the next logical step is to give the class a teacher.

Where did the problems arise this year?

This year, problems began to arise when students decided to change classes after the schedules were already cemented by administrators. When an influx of schedule change requests flooded in last summer, reaching numbers in the hundreds, it meant that the master schedule would have to be drastically restructured.

Restructuring causes problems in staffing. Dr. Lowerre offers an example: this year the AP Comparative Gov. student request numbers skyrocketed over the summer, while the art class numbers dwindled. At this point, class changes affect staff. More teachers are needed for some subjects and fewer teachers for others. Teachers’ jobs may be put on the line. Or, contrarily, more teachers need to be hired hastily before school starts. Of course, there are exceptions. Dr. Lowerre expressed his willingness to work with students who need to switch class levels or add study halls in the future. He has confirmed that problems arise when students want to change elective courses.

What caused this confusion?

In previous years, the lines were blurred concerning when scheduling requests needed to be made. However, this year there was an assigned date to combat scheduling chaos: June 15. Because of this shift from tentative to concrete dates, confusion emerged. The June 15th date was seen more as an “ideal” date rather than an arbitrary one. Dr. Lowerre commented that this was “a practice, not a policy”and that this was merely a “change in existing practice.”  

What should we do going forward?  

Dr. Lowerre and the rest of the staff work hard to provide us with a wealth of classes to choose from each year, and he has pride for our school’s diverse curriculum. Dr. Lowerre stresses that we “have earned and deserve freedom,” but he urges us to take the necessary steps to avoid scheduling conflicts in the future. Dr. Lowerre said, with no malicious intent, “When I say this is how we’re going to do it, this is the way we have to do it.” By the June 15th date, all elective classes must be chosen. This date is set to firm up staffing decisions and the construction of the master schedule. He wants us to understand that the administration has our best interests at heart, and with the freedom that we’re provided, we must have limitations that help teachers and students alike.

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