Lately there has been a lot of discussion concerning the scheduling for the next school year at DHS. Many students have been wondering why it is now required to have a one through six schedule, with a zero period only being added if the student wants to take a particular class that’s only offered at that time. Some juniors who will soon be incoming seniors also may not see the point in taking 6 full periods when they already have an abundance of credits and only three or four classes are needed for them to graduate.
Earlier this week I interviewed Principal Barsotti on some of the issues students are wondering about to try and clarify why these changes are being made.
Q: What was your purpose for the change of schedule? Was this a response to something? Did you see a problem that needed to change?
A: I wanted to ensure that students and the teaching staff were on similar schedules. If a teacher leaves after their fifth period, and a student after their sixth, after-school help may be difficult, and we want to ensure students are meeting their A-G requirements.
Q: Did you bring any of these decisions to the teaching staff? What was there response?
A: Yes, I introduced the idea earlier in the year for teacher input, and of course as with any thing, some could see the value of everyone being on a similar schedule, and some didn’t agree with the idea.
Q: What would you say in response to students who have an abundance of credits and feel that a one through six schedule may be unnecessary?
A: I’ve had a lot of notes and responses from students and anyone is free to make appointments and some exceptions can be made. But if students do want to change their schedules, they can make appointments and talk to me about it, but no final decisions on scheduling will be made without the student, at least one of their parents, and I reviewing the requirements.
Q: There has been some talk about attendance going down for next year. As a result, teachers would be cut. How do you plan to schedule more classes with fewer staff?
A: Well, we’re staffed according to our student population, so whether it goes up or down, we should be adequately staffed.
Although we may have the correct number of teachers for each classroom, the classes will surely become more crowded. More students will also want special after-school help in these classes after school, a time when teachers are no longer paid. And this doesn’t speak for the addition of the AP classes that only the highest ranking students will be placed in such as the top language classes that, on average, only have ten to fifteen students, and understandably so, these courses are difficult.
So what happens then? After the Academies and AP courses take their pick of the student body, what happens to the rest? The students who do not meet the AP requirements will just be lumped together and placed in their corresponding classes. What are we offering them? It’s not to say that their classes are not doing anything, but it seems like they’re being given the leftovers. And how does a required extended schedule help to meet the A-G requirements? The students who are on track should be able to design their courses around what they need in their day.