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Students and staff: Mapping out next year’s schedules

By Raymond Dai and Larry Ye Feb. 2, 2021

Nicole Kim Art

As the second semester begins, administrators, academic counselors and students will play varying roles in preparing for the next school year, starting with the schedule-making process.

According to Senior Counselor Shira Solomon, counselors will attend English classes via Webex calls and give an overview of the different course options and pathways students can take. Two weeks after this presentation, the counselors will then guide students through the course selection process. To provide further assistance, they aim to offer one-on-one appointments as well as distribute sample graduation plans so students can be more prepared to choose the best classes for their needs. This way, the administrators hope that students will not change their minds about the classes they sign up for and have to request schedule changes in August.

Sophomore Connie Zou says she appreciates the measures the academic counseling team is taking this year and would actually like to see more benefit from more in-depth information on the courses—she believes that it would give students a better idea of what they might learn in them. The school also offers additional educational opportunities through San Jose City College (SJCC) and Silicon Valley Career Technical Education courses. While the counselor presentations briefly discuss outside-credit courses, students must attend separate information meetings to learn more about these courses. New outside-credit courses are frequently introduced to students, allowing them to explore a greater variety of topics.

“I wish there was more emphasis on outside-credit studies. Because the course selection process primarily focuses on the curriculum taught at the school, I feel like I have missed out on opportunities to take classes outside of the school that interest me. For example, I never knew about cooking or law enforcement courses that we could take for credit outside of the school,” Junior Tarun Rao said.

This year, students will complete their course selection online in Infinite Campus with the help of a counselor during their English classes. Although the administrative staff ultimately decides which students are placed in each class, Assistant Principal of Guidance Ashley Morefield stresses the need for students to involve and consult their parents when selecting courses.

This year, students will complete their course selection online in Infinite Campus with the help of a counselor during their English classes.

In addition to talking with her parents, Sophomore Tammy Newman often goes to her sister, Senior Chani Newman, and upperclassmen friends for advice on the classes she should request. From this, she can get a general idea of course workloads and how teachers run the classes. She also asks her teachers for recommendations on which courses would be beneficial for her based on how she performed in their classes. Junior Jake Weth talks with his parents about his ideal schedule, but also prioritizes his own opinion on the classes he wants to take.

“I usually discuss scheduling with my parents, mainly asking whether they think I am a good fit for a class, what alternates I should choose and if I can handle the workload since they have already gone through similar conversations with my sister. We tend to agree on most things, except for the number of advanced classes I should take. However, I keep in mind that the decision to sign up for a certain class is still mine. It is important to know my limits and think about if I can realistically handle all my class’ workloads,” Weth said.

When students talk to their parents, siblings, friends or teachers about course selection, they should also think about several other factors before finalizing their schedule requests. Junior Karin Liu believes it is important to consider rigor and take classes that are challenging. However, Morefield emphasizes that it is also crucial to carefully evaluate each class’ workload, take into consideration why students are interested in a class and preserve a lifestyle that maintains a healthy balance between school and other activities. It will be especially important to deliberate over these aspects if part of school were to be online again next year, as Morefield notes that distance learning has caused many to feel burnt out.

Aside from considering wellness, peer recommendations and workload, students’ academic goals and career aspirations also impact the types of courses they take. Morefield recommends that students contemplate what they want to do after high school and choose classes that truly interest them.

“Because I intend to pursue a career in STEM, I am currently taking engineering to explore the mechanics behind everyday objects. In addition, I am looking forward to taking computer science next year to learn about computer softwares,” Sophomore Daniel Tsai said.

After students request their classes, administrators work to develop the master schedule, which includes information on the distribution of teachers and class sections. In doing so, they work both digitally and manually to accommodate each schedule request while considering a number of other factors. They make sure to evenly distribute students between class sections, avoid overlapping single-period classes, clarify that staff members have the credentials to teach their subjects and much more. Therefore, Assistant Principal of Instruction and Curriculum Mary Ann Dougherty explains that it is crucial for students to carefully choose their courses in February and March, as those choices dictate what is available in the fall.

It is crucial for students to carefully choose their courses in February and March, as those choices dictate what is available in the fall.

Following the initial creation of schedules, counselors continue the process by looking through each schedule for errors and ensuring that students are on track for graduation. Once schedules are created, Solomon explains that it can only be altered if there is a gap, a missing course or an incorrect placement.

As students begin the course selection process, many are looking forward to taking specific classes. Junior WenWen Gu is excited to take SJCC’s psychology and sociology courses through the school.

“Psychology and sociology seem like very interesting subjects to study. Although I do not know if I would like to enter the medical field, the courses will help me prepare for the future with college credits and allow me to explore new fields. I am also looking forward to experiencing what it is like to take a community college class, as the teaching style may differ from high school,” Gu said.

As students begin requesting their courses, the administrative staff and counseling department continue to dedicate themselves in developing an effective schedule-making process. Although it remains uncertain what form next school year will take, staff members work to meet everyone’s needs and make the transition as smooth as possible.


About the Contributors

Raymond Dai

Staff Writer

Raymond Dai is a sophomore at Leland High School and a Staff Writer for the Charger Account. He likes to play video games, play badminton and go out biking in his free time.

Larry Ye

Staff Writer

Lawrence Ye is a sophomore at Leland High School and a staff writer for the Leland Charger Account. He likes to swim and travel and loves his pet dog named Meatball.

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