Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Scheduling Transition Plan

Good Afternoon,
I hope this email finds you well and enjoying this beautiful summer weather with family and friends.  Somehow the summer seems to go by so much more quickly than the rest of the year!  

I write today to inform you that a recent review of the scheduling procedures by the Superintendent and School Board has resulted in the development of a “Transition Plan”  for the implementation of scheduling procedures for the 15-16 school year.  The transition plan allows for schedule changes to occur at the start of the school year, the details of which are below. It is important to note that core course requirements already scheduled will not be eligible to change unless they meet the conditions outlined below.

Additionally, we have included FAQ’S below in hopes that they will provide further clarification of the process.
Transition Plan for 2015-16
  1. Allow seven additional days (until Friday, September 4, 2015) for students to drop courses without an indication on the transcript.
  2. Place students who drop courses at the bottom of any waiting list for adding a course. Note: This does not affect students who need a course for graduation.
Fall “Level Change Period” (formally known as Drop/Add period)
  • This period is the first 4 weeks at the start of school and will be for course level changes only. Level changes are defined only as changes between PSP, Honors, AP/IB (exception- semester Science classes).
Exceptions for Core Course Requirements Changes
  • if a graduation requirement is needed,
  • prerequisite requirements have not been met for the scheduled courses,
  • there is a duplication of courses​,​
  • credit was earned in ​summer ​school or through a pre-approved on-line course​,
  • there is an error, or
  • other unique student situations. Please note that students cannot make changes to their schedule to select a specific teacher, a specific time of day, or a specific fellow student.

Frequently Asked Questions about Schedules
2015-2016


  • If my child has a level change will his/her other courses that need to be changed be impacted/documented with a WP/WF?
    • We understand that other courses may need to be moved or even dropped when a level change has to happen. Therefore there will be no record of those impacted courses if the level change happens within the timeframe in early fall. If a student wants to change a level after the level change period (first four weeks of school) then any dropped courses will be recorded on the transcript with a “W/P” or “W/F”.
  • If I'm in a course that is too hard, can I change a level?
    • Students may change the level of a course if his or her parents approve and there is room in the course they are trying to get into. There is a form that must be signed by the student’s current teacher, parent, School Counselor, and Skills teacher when appropriate.
  • Why can't my student replace a dropped course with another in that same block?
    • The primary reason for trying to limit the students from the cycle of adding and dropping courses in the first four weeks is the impact it has on all teaching and learning.  When we allow students to drop one course to add it makes it very difficult to advance curriculum and learning when the students in class keep changing.  While it has an impact on a teacher’s ability to instruct, the greater issue is the lost learning to the students in a class when teachers have to catch students up. Additionally, when students change their minds about what they want to take they are asking for a spot in a class that has not considered their interest- this can impact many other students. There is a ripple effect.
  • Can I pick a teacher?
    • We do not allow students to choose their teachers. The software finds the best course schedule based on the student’s requests. The teachers that they are matched up with simply teaches in the block when the student is available to take that course. Of course, we consider unique circumstances and will discuss any issues that a student has with a teacher that he or she has experienced in the past.
  • Why can’t I pick a time/block for my class?
    • We can’t offer every course in every block of the day. For example we may only offer a single section of a course so if the student really wants to be in it, they must attend at that specific time. Also a course may be really popular and full in all the different sections that are offered. If a student wants to move it they may not have a space in another section.
  • Can I select an Advisory to make sure my child is with a certain peer?
    • Administrators at Lurgio will notify us if there are any good matches that we need to make happen- students that would benefit from being together. They also provide information on student avoids- students that are not productive together. Typically this list is rather short. We hope to keep the matching in Advisory to be random. This will allow for new relationships, even friendships to evolve. Generally speaking these groups of students get very close over their four years together.
  • What will colleges say about a W/F, W/P, or W?
    • College admission counselors understand that students may need to leave courses from time to time. Some may ask the student or School Counselor to explain what happened to result in a withdraw, but typically a single “W/P” won’t result in much attention. However, several withdraws will be a red flag. If students have these on their transcripts year after year the admission counselor will want an explanation. If they learn that this happened several times because the student simply changed his or her mind they may want to discuss it with the applicant. We are not aware of this being an issue with one of our students.
  • I requested Early Release, why didn’t I get it in my schedule?
    • “Courses” such as Early Release and Late Arrival fall into the scheduling process last. It has the lowest priority rank. Therefore, the scheduler tries to place all other courses into a student’s schedule before a free period. If another course needs to fall in a block at the end of the day, it takes precedence over Early Release. For example, a student may request Late Arrival in February, but if they must take their humanities grad requirement in the first block, that will be on their schedule instead as its priority is higher.
  • Why can’t I rearrange my schedule to get Early Release?
    • The scheduler software creates the optimum schedule for each student. If it doesn’t select Early Release it must mean that something else that the student selected would have to be removed. We prefer for students to take a full schedule over a free block. In addition, the more students drop courses at the beginning and end of the day, the smaller our class sizes become. We feel that a full course can generate a richer educational experience than one that has very few students.

  • Why didn’t the course I wanted run?
    • Soon after the course request window closes in February the Leadership Team at the high school determines how many sections of each course to run based on student interest. We try to run the most popular courses. Therefore a course that has only a handful of requests typically won’t be run in the following school year because it didn’t generate enough interest to fill seats.
  • Why is there a wait list for grad requirements like In Writing and Personal Finance?
    • There was a large number of students who opted to take these courses in the summer enrichment program. We run fewer sections in the school year when we know that a number of students will fulfill the requirement in the summer. This year we had an unexpected number of students change their minds and asked to change into the school year courses. Unfortunately we did not create enough room for this number of students to change their minds.

Regards,
Bill

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