Counseling Conundrum

Gini Horton, Web Editor

The summer started with chaos as students got their schedules and rushed to get them changed through a Google form sent out by the counseling center before the August 2 deadline. Some had incomplete schedules, some had classes they weren’t supposed to be in and some just didn’t like their schedule.
“The beginning of the year is extremely busy with new enrollments… schedule fixes [and] changes and trying to balance the teachers’ classes as best as possible,” counselor Nichole Dosland said. “Counselors easily work 60-70 hours a week the few weeks before school starts trying to get everything ready to go.”
This year classes are all full and students have run into problems working out their schedules or requesting changes. According to Dosland, almost 700 students sent in requests through the Google forms.
“It is extremely important for students to choose classes in the spring that they want and are willing to take the next fall,” Dosland said. “The master schedule is created to accommodate those original requests. Unfortunately, sometimes conflicts exist and students have to choose between two courses offered the same hour. Usually this happens when the student has a lot of singleton classes – meaning their other choices are only offered one particular hour.”
Counseling has predicted this tightness in the schedule, which is why they began to tell students to think of the classes they would take this year last fall to prepare for the spring.
“We just don’t have a ton of flexibility in the schedule this year and if we had moved more students around, it would have created much larger classes or overfilled them. It would have been too much for teachers and students,” counselor Kelly Lillis said.
They have run into the most issues with the Senior Class because of the amount of specialized classes only offered for one or two hours. Upper level courses like foreign languages and math have been causing these issues. Lillis describes creating the teacher schedules as a puzzle; they have to make sure that all the classes fit together. The schedule is created when students send in their schedule requests in January. Classes are based off how many students sign up for a course.
“Say we have 100 students who request to be in APUSH, then we go in and create the number of sections of APUSH that would accommodate 100 students,” Lillis said. “Then if we have 20 students in August come in and say they changed their mind over the summer and would like to do APUSH, we often don’t have the space. So our choices are to either overfill classes or say, ‘no.’”
While students may be unsatisfied with their end result, counseling worked overtime to get ready for school. On top of a majority of the school sending in schedule requests, there were 85 students who transferred by the second week of school.
“It makes the long hours so worthwhile when we see the smiles on your faces,” Dosland said.