By Denna Changizi,
The start of the new school year is always stressful and adding to the stress of planning outfits, organizing lunch plans and snapping out of summer mode are schedules. Specifically, schedule changes. About half the students at Davis High are unhappy with their schedules and request a change.
Junior Chloe McClain prepared for the new year by signing up for physics, vet science and Lead. When she decided to drop her Lead class, McCain was given her backup choice: zoology and botany. With a total of three science classes, McCain grew overwhelmed.
“I emailed my counselor to make an appointment and then she called me in and we switched around my schedule […] I wasn’t planning on being in that class, it was a second choice,” McClain said.
Luckily, McClain was able to drop zoology and botany and instead became a teaching assistant for her animal science class.
Sophomore Sean O’Hara was equally lucky when he requested to swap his chemistry class for Chemistry in the Community. As a baseball player, O’Hara grew nervous that chemistry would be too big of a time commitment.
Within the second week of school, O’Hara’s request was granted.
“Luckily I came early enough to where I could pick the class up pretty quick. It was a little confusing at first but I got used to it,” O’Hara said.
But not all students are as lucky. According to head counselor Courtenay Tessler, there is still a six-page waiting list in the counselor’s office filled with the names of students who all want their schedules to be adjusted.
“We warn students, as you know, [when they choose their classes] to consider everything you sign up for as your permanent choice. So the problem is if you come in and you no longer want [AP English Literature and Composition], we can only move you if there’s space available in the class and if it fits into your schedule,” Tessler said.
Although a class may appear to have an extra desk, there are district regulations that must be met. The Davis Teacher’s Association prohibits Davis Joint Unified School District teachers from teaching over 160 students.
“We work with all the teachers and it’s this gigantic puzzle of taking 2,000 students […] and trying to assure that everybody gets what they want,” Tessler said.
Producing student schedules is a lengthy process that begins in February and is completed in June. Counselors first review requested classes and then move on to discuss preferences with teachers, finalizing what classes will be offered and when. Throughout May and June, the process is completed with the hiring of new teachers, based on the classes students requested.
Unlike O’Hara or McClain, senior Annika Streeb wasn’t able to change her schedule. Streeb requested to swap her precalculus class for AP Statistics, and to drop out of AP English Literature and Composition, knowing that her workload was too full.
“I dropped into English 12 [because] it was the only English class available during second period. I mainly didn’t want my schedule to get messed up by dropping [AP English Literature and Composition],” Streeb said.
Although the trade between her English classes was successful, the senior was unable to transfer into AP Statistics. The offered statistics classes that fit with her schedule were all full.
“That’s why you have to decide in February what [classes] you want, because then, we [can] make sure we have enough sections to accommodate everybody,” Tessler explained. “We can’t run out and hire another teacher or open another section just because you changed your mind.”