Fall scheduling issues cause confusion among students

Leah Mulaly

     When students received their schedules for the 2009-2010 school year, many found errors. These errors included schedule change requests filed at the end of the 2008-2009 school year that had not been applied. Several students were placed in classes that they had already taken at ACC and even at CPHS.

     “They put me in two classes I had already taken and they dropped me from engineering graphics without asking me, and I need that class,” Eric Johnson, senior, said. “I turned in three different schedule change forms because they kept getting it wrong.”

     Throughout the few days before school started, hundreds of students lined up to fill out a schedule change forms. Many of these schedule changes were not applied correctly by the first day of school, possibly a result of students not being able to speak directly with a counselor.

      “They didn’t put me in ACC for the fall so I ended up just taking the classes at the school,” Liz Waldrop, senior, said. “I knew that since we weren’t allowed to talk to the counselors it wouldn’t get fixed.”

     One cause of this confusion was that ACC transcripts were not released until after school started. Once students acquired their ACC transcript, they filed a schedule change form; however, the changes were not applied until days or weeks later, causing many students to be behind in classes they originally intended to take.

     “When you have 2000 students wanting to change a schedule a few days before school starts— everyone that takes an ACC course over the summer, plus everyone who goes to summer school, plus everyone who has a conflict, which means two classes are only offered at the same time— it’s just not humanly possible to do that,” Loyce Engle, lead counselor, said.

     Anna Shaw, sophomore, is one of four students who intended to take AP World History this year, but due to scheduling conflicts with the two class periods scheduled, was unable to be in the WHAP class period. She and the others were put in a regular level World History class period while still following the WHAP curriculum.

      “I think [being in the regular World History class] was somewhat unnecessary, because I know the sixth and seventh period [WHAP] classes are really full,” Shaw said. “I think they should have had a third class from the start.”

     A possible reason for the two crowded classes is that sophomores reconsidered taking WHAP after schedules were initially filled out in the spring of 2009.

     “If, say, 100 people ask for a certain course, they try to provide 100 seats in that class,” Engle said. “So if another 50 people later on decide they want to add that class, then it’s not possible.”

      There was only one class period established for AP Chemistry, thus the class had about 35 students. “We had more people than desks so people were using the lab tables as desks,” Joe Manzo, senior, said. “It was hectic.”

     When the counselors realized the problem and found time to correct it, they created another AP Chemistry class period.

     “It made the class a better place to learn,” Manzo said.

     Another reason for the crowded classes, besides the limited section numbers, is the unexpected number of new enrollments at CPHS this year.

     “When Vandegrift was started this year, the district did its best to predict how many students would remain on this campus and how many would be going to the new campus,” Engle said. “Predictions are never 100 percent accurate; they do their very best. You never know how many people are going to move in new to the district, how many people are going to ask for a transfer, and so unexpectedly, a lot of that happened.”

     Besides scheduling issues, many teachers are having to teach additional classes that they didn’t teach last year. Some teachers have had the opposite happen to them. For example, Michelle Iskra, AP English IV teacher, is no longer able to teach creative writing.

     “It wasn’t explained why I didn’t get to teach creative writing, I was just added an additional section of AP English IV,” Iskra said. “Now, the logic behind that, I think, is that they were trying to consolidate all of the English IV classes for AP in one teacher. I would have liked to have continued teaching creative writing; I enjoyed the class very much.”

     Some students still have problems with their schedules, and others have been lucky enough to get the errors corrected before time ran out.