Starting this semester, program changes have been restructured so that students’ schedules are changed the same day they have been requested.
With the new process, Assistant Principals (AP) were seated throughout the cafeteria, rather than the theater, after school from Tuesday, January 31, to Thursday, February 2. Once an AP approved a student’s schedule change, the student could go directly to the guidance counselor who would process it and give the student a new schedule immediately.
Previously, APs lined up on the stage of the theater and would approve students’ requests with a written form. Students would then need to obtain signatures from their guidance counselors at their offices before the programming office could process the request, which could take over a day.
Sometimes, their guidance counselor would not approve the request, or the class would be filled up by another change that occurred later, and students might not be able to receive the change that the AP approved.
“[Now], students will know whether they have the program changes or not rather than going home thinking they might have it, [and] coming in the next day realizing the class was full,” AP of Guidance Casey Pedrick said. In order to keep track of students, numbered tickets were still given out.
The change was made by Interim Acting Principal Eric Contreras after observing program changes last September. “[Program changes usually take a long time because] we give students what we call selectives, the ability to create their own options. It means that you have to give a space for making those decisions and for making changes that they might want to make,” Contreras said.
Contreras suggested that guidance counselors be more involved in the process by having them be in the same room. “I wanted to try a place where I [could] put both the heads of the departments and the guidance counselors. The theater [wasn’t] big enough but the cafeteria [was],” Contreras said.
Students can still go to the guidance office during the day to fix their schedules if they have an error, such as a missing class, and need their schedules fixed right away.
In a survey conducted by The Spectator in September 2016, 86.6 percent of respondents reported that they tried to make changes to their schedule. Few expressed satisfaction with the old method of programming changes, with one respondent writing, “Why go to program changes and see one department at a time, when you can just go to your guidance counselor and have him/her personally discuss your classes, and change any class in all departments?”
“This next change is a step towards improvement,” Pedrick said. “When we have gone through the program changes in the past, we always can see room for improvement and hoping that we can make better use of the time of the students rather than spending hours to make a request that doesn’t get [accepted].”