Workload is a major factor when students make their course selections, especially near the end of the schedule change period when students lean away from honors and AP/IB toward on-level courses.

Counselor gives insight into course scheduling process

by Sophie Yang, ’19

As spring break begins, the counseling department is hard at work processing schedule requests for the 2018-19 school year.

According to counselor Heather Peebles, the window for class registration is short and early in order to deter procrastination and to prevent the schedule-setting process from running into AP/IB testing.

“People feel the process is pretty rushed, but knowing our students and our community. I feel like if we give it five weeks, there will still be students who wait until the last two days,” Peebles said.

As far as creating schedules for more than 1,800 students, the counseling department’s first task is to meet extensively with department chairs to decide sectioning: the teachers for each course and the periods when courses will be offered. Then, the students’ requests are loaded into PowerSchool, which generates rough schedules.

From there, counselors check the error reports, work out conflicts and process schedule change requests, which is the most time-consuming aspect.

“Last year, we created an online schedule change form. We had over 1900 schedule changes,” Peebles said. “The five days before school starts, all we’re doing is PowerSchool changes.”

Last year, we created an online schedule change form. We had over 1900 schedule changes.

Counselor Heather Peebles

When it comes to choosing courses, Peebles said students have a tendency to schedule ambitiously, then drop into standard-level classes. However, the sectioning and size of classes—which can never go over 30 students, but usually tops out at 28—means students may find themselves “locked into” a path for which they’re unsuited.

To deter this, Peebles encourages students to make more accurate class choices from the start.

“Students are able to go in and visit classrooms and to get a feel about the classes they’re deciding,” Peebles said.