By consolidating two databases, elective classes change to semesters

Jacqueline Chao
Junior Ulises Barajas and sophomore Emily Hayes race for a puck in scooter hockey during an elective I PE class.

During the 2017-18 school year, high-school students will have to brush up on adding fractions with different denominators.

Currently, students choose three electives each year that run on a trimester schedule, while the core academic classes run on a semester schedule.

After much faculty deliberation, the decision was made to switch the electives to a semester schedule to align with the academic schedule, according to head of high school Brooke Wells.

He said that simplicity was one of the motivating factors, though there were other considerations.

Most importantly, the new schedule will allow the administration to consolidate two databases into one.

Now, the administration works from two databases – one for core semester academic classes and another for trimester electives – due to the program’s inability to process the scheduling and grade reports for the two different grading cycles.

“No other school does it the way we currently do, and it’s so extraordinarily common for all of the classes to be on the same schedule, so (combining the schedules) seems like it makes the most sense,” Wells said.

Additionally, students’ grades in their core academic and elective classes will all appear on the same report card. This simple change is more convenient for students and parents, as well as faculty, and the administration will also welcome less paper work, according to Wells.

Though this change sounds like a no-brainer that could have easily been implemented years ago, it comes with one important complication – athletic credit. All students will still need two full years of physical education; now, however, they’ll have to add fractions.

The problem arises for students who use seasonal sports for PE credit.

The trimester elective schedule aligned with the three sports seasons, meaning that to achieve a full year of credit, students could do a combination of PE and school sports. In other words, if a student needed a year of PE credit and wanted to play a winter sport, he or she could use that winter sport as credit for the winter trimester – freeing up that second-trimester elective slot for something else.

Now, because electives are switching to the semester schedule, the credit crossover between PE and seasonal sports won’t be as clean. That same student would have to take both semesters of PE to meet the requirement, earning no credit for his participation in the winter sport.

That said, students who only take PE or only play sports remain unaffected.

“Personally, I don’t think it will really affect me,” freshman Monet Cook said. “I will probably only participate in sports and never in PE.”

While student athletes may run into issues with odd fractions of credit, the administration maintains that the elective schedule change will be an overall benefit.

“It’s just simpler and easier for everyone to understand,”  Wells said.

By Briana Davies

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