School policy for class selection aims to help all students succeed

“This year in Food and Nutrition, 206 students signed up, and we only have space for 128,” Burlingame Counselor Luis Mashek told the Burlingame B. When facilities and staff cannot accommodate an additional class, “the process of deciding schedules comes down to what class it is.” Every year at BHS, courses that are offered have more students sign up to take the class than facilities and staffing restraints allow. The counselors have to make adjustments to students schedules to attempt to find the best option for each student.

Classes that are very popular, Mashek using Food and Nutrition as an example, often rely on a random drawing of names to decide who receives placement into the class. Additionally, classes that “are geared towards upperclassmen, such as AP classes, give priority to seniors as it will be their last opportunity to take the class.” On the contrary, in Food and Nutrition, upperclassmen are not given priority because it is a prerequisite class.

“If we gave all the seats to seniors, there would be nobody to fill the next level, which is culinary arts,” Counselor Mashek said.

The student’s academic performance has no bearing on whether or not they can take a class. Mashek explained that “the school uses an open access policy, which allows any student to sign up for AP classes.” Mashek qualified this by saying  “there is no gatekeeper deciding who can take a class.” The counselors will “advise the students that people who perform well in prerequisite classes are generally more successful.” Mashek told the B that often the issue can arise out of students taking classes over the summer or at CSM wishing to get ahead. These students are not given priority in classes.

Senior Diana Daniels told the B that she “did not receive a class she had chosen for the second semester.” She had originally elected to take AP Economics but instead had to take CP Economics in a different period because the school had not scheduled an AP Economics class during the period that would accommodate her schedule. Daniels said that she would have hoped that “the school would have done more to make an option available to students that would have allowed us to take the classes we selected.”

Posted on March 21, 2017 .