Two classes in a subject: not denied, but not guaranteed

Students who are yearning to take double classes in a single subject are not denied, but cannot be guaranteed, their second class. From mid- to late- April, confusion has ensued regarding the limitations of double class selections in any subject. Students who had originally requested to take two sciences or two maths were called in to speak with their counselors, and many were told that they were unable to double up on any subject.

This has caused much frustration among Leigh High School students who had been  content with their initial schedules, and confusion among others who were later informed by their peers that they were, in fact, allowed their second class in a single subject.

“I felt overwhelmed and disappointed that I couldn’t take AP Biology and Physics, which were the two classes I wanted. I really enjoy science and I wanted to take both classes because I knew they would help me in my major later on and prepare me. I was also overwhelmed from the fact that I had to further alter my schedule and fix it again,” said Sanela Adzic, junior.

Some students were given reasons for this abrupt change.

“I wanted to take Physiology and Physics, but [my counselor] said that I wasn’t allowed to double on sciences because the district cut their sections and they had to give priority to other people. She did say that if people dropped out, I could take the class through a random draw of names. I asked her if I could take another math class and she said I couldn’t double on math either, so my options were really limited,” said Ava Ghorbani, junior.

However, science sections are not being cut for next year, unlike what some students have been told.

According to David Geller, physics teacher and head of the science department, “Nothing is final yet, but right now, we have roughly the same number of planned science sections next year that we have for this year. If it’s going to be off, it’s only going to be like one class.”

Instead, administration is simply being cautious, as they are just trying to make sure that they can provide everyone with their first class, before allowing others to double up.

“We have to make sure we’re providing graduation requirements and that we’re providing our students the opportunity to be A-G eligible. Those are our two primary responsibilities. Giving the people the option for a second science is an option. Of course, we want to give students who are interested the opportunity to be able to do that, but I can’t guarantee that,” said Kara Butler, principal.

There is also the inevitable fact that class sizes are increasing, and administrators are busy trying to accommodate for everyone’s needs.

“We have a larger population now, and we’re continuing to grow. Right now, our senior class is about 370. Our freshman class is close to 450. When you have an incoming freshman class of close to 500 coming in and a senior class of 370 going out, it changes the numbers that you’re dealing with and the classes. So there are a lot of factors that we have had to take into account that have shifted how we have to approach the way that we’re staffing and scheduling,” said Butler.

Despite the growing class sizes and complex scheduling process, counselors are now allowing their students to take their second class.

Counselor Susie Taylor explained, “Originally, Ms. Butler, our principal, did not allow two sciences because she wanted to make sure everyone was getting a science, but then she said that students are able to take a second science, so I called them in and basically allowed them to take a second science if I felt like they could handle it based on their previous grades. I’m also checking to see if they can handle it from a maturity standpoint, and how they’re going to balance that with everything else they’re doing – community service hours, sports, work.”

Although this period of confusion has been frustrating for students, most of them have been granted the classes that they desire for next year.