Six juniors were expecting a change to the curriculum when signing up for their 2016-17 course selection.
They wanted an additional math course after finishing AP Calculus BC, the highest level course offered at Country Day.
So Marigot Fackenthal, Quin LaComb, Mac Scott, Arvind Krishnan, Shriya Nadgauda and Zane Jakobs were all disappointed when this course wasn’t created.
Fackenthal wants to be an engineer, so not taking a math class in her senior year will be a serious problem, she said.
Fackenthal transferred from Mira Loma High School, where she was on the “normal” math track. She would have taken an IB math course her senior year.
“But then I transferred to Country Day and everything got messed up with my math scheduling,” she said.
Fackenthal said that she wants to take another math course because it would look strange if there were no math on her transcript during her senior year.
“Also, if I don’t take math for a whole year, then it’ll be hard to catch up with everyone once I’m in college,” she said.
Her solution is take linear algebra, in an online course offered by Indiana University.
Fackenthal is the only junior who is definitely taking a math course online.
Nadgauda is taking her advanced math course either at a community college near her house or online.
“It would be a lot easier if it were at school because then I (wouldn’t) have to work around (the school’s) schedule,” Nadgauda said.
“Also, I would know that it’s going to be on my transcript.”
Courses not taken at the school are not included on the Country Day transcript.
Like Fackenthal, Nadgauda wants to pursue mathematics in college.
LaComb is taking AP Physics C as an alternative to a math course.
The issue of adding another math class emerged in the middle of the 2014-15 school year.
Jakobs, at the time a sophomore, organized a group of students to talk to Brooke Wells, head of high school, about adding another class.
“He thought it was a good idea and said that he would see what he could do about it,” Jakobs said.
Jakobs wasn’t the only one who assumed the class was going to happen.
LaComb said that they were under the impression that there would be a math class.
There was a meeting about what class the students wanted, and the two suggested were multivariable calculus and linear algebra.
“When we had the meeting with Wells, he said, ‘Yeah, we are going to have the class,’” Nadgauda said. “We all kind of assumed that it was going to be one of our classes.”
In February of 2016, Jakobs asked Wells again about the progress of the new class.
“He said that it was most likely going to happen and that they had the budget and everything for it,” Jakobs said. “The only problem was trying to find out which class we would be taking.”
Yet again, Jakobs returned to Wells in March and asked him how the plans were going.
“He told me that it was still on,” Jakobs said.
Then the class didn’t happen, according to Jakobs.
“I was disappointed,” he said. “I feel like there was a lack of communication and a lack of follow through.”
And in an Octagon article last year (“High school adds new online STEM courses,” April 28, 2015), reporter Madison Judd wrote, “Wells expects that the new math class will be popular, but it won’t start until the 2016-17 school year because it is being created specifically for the class of 2017.”
But Wells said that the math department had determined that there were not enough students who wanted to take the advanced math class because of “too many different interests.”
Wells said that he thinks that there may be an alternate math course provided in the future.
“Students should talk to the math department or (math teacher Chris) Millsback,” Wells said. “If the department feels that it’s necessary, then we’ll do it.”
According to Wells, AP Microeconomics is the math class that was designed for students to take after completing AP Calculus BC.
Krishnan, Jakobs and Nadgauda all said they will take AP Economics next year.
In a poll taken on May 10 of 33 freshmen and 35 sophomores, 18 said that they will finish all the math courses offered by the end of their junior year.
And five freshmen and four sophomores said that they would take an additional math course if it were offered. Three freshmen and five sophomores said maybe, and one sophomore said no.
Sophomore Atuso Chiu, who is one of 10 sophomores who will finish all their math, said he wants to take a math class after AP Calculus BC.
“I like math, and I don’t want to forget it when I go to college,” Chiu said.