The reason that so many of us are attracted to Country Day is that, unlike many public schools, it listens to the needs and wants of its students. Sure, a student council can convince the administration of a large public school to make Taco Tuesday happen two times a month, but when it comes to major changes, students are relatively powerless.
And the addition of classes is a major change indeed.
Even if no new teachers are hired, a new class can put a strain on an already difficult-to-balance budget as well as becoming another hurdle to jump when it comes time to make the new class schedules in the fall.
Yet despite these problems, the faculty has decided to add two new classes: AP Computer Science and a yet-undecided math class that will extend beyond AP Calculus BC.
The computer science course has been a long time coming, especially considering that it’s offered by a majority of public high schools and is an unofficial requirement for most engineering majors.
Upon visiting her future college, one of our staffers asked her peers whether it was a problem that she had no computer science knowledge or experience. The response?
“I just took AP Computer Science and I’m okay.”
If taking the class itself is considered the bottom line at these programs, then including it in our curriculum is a great idea.
After all, if you’re going to call yourself a college-preparatory school, it’s important that your students are indeed prepped.
However, while the computer science course is a veritable utility belt for future STEM majors, the yet-undecided math class is significantly more niche. The former is certainly a more necessary change to the curriculum, while the latter is indicative of what Country Day is all about: the students.
Let’s be real here. A tertiary AP math class is not something our students need, but it’s certainly something the students want. It’s great that the administration considers our preferences, especially when many other schools have administrations that don’t pay much attention to their students.
Our only fear is that some day there won’t be enough students to fill the class. But with the current trends in education, we don’t see that being a problem any time soon.
However, even if that day comes (and frankly, we don’t see it coming), it won’t be a sad one, as the removal of the class would be just a continuation of the dynamism and flexibility that are characteristics of Country Day.
After all, since we started out in a trailer it would be a shame if after 50 years the faculty quit listening.
Previously published in the print edition on April 28, 2015.