BHS has implemented a new process for course selection this year, having students choose classes online rather than the previous handwritten design. With this new system, students create online Aeries profiles and are able to navigate the site themselves, a difference from letting their counselors manage the process.
The new programming allows students to be more interactive with their parents and peers. They will now have two weeks to discuss their future school year with whomever they need to, ensuring that they make the choices they are satisfied with. They input the choices themselves and can see exactly what gets put into the system. Students also have the opportunity to speak to counselors during this time period, so there is not a substantial decrease in interaction, unless the student chooses not to seek the advice of their counselor.
In the past, students still had plenty of opportunities to speak with family and friends about classes, but the decision ultimately came to one sit-down with their counselor. This worked well for many students, mostly upperclassmen who have a good idea of what courses they wanted. Those who understand all the classes can breeze through the system with little trouble.
“If students know what they are doing, which they usually do, then online scheduling is much better,” BHS junior Kevin Cahua said. “It is just a way for students to get through the process faster and without as much hassle.”
Despite it only being her first year at BHS, freshman Jessica Viner believes that “[online course programming] is difficult to get started, but I think it runs smoothly once you figure it out.”
A common first impression of the change would be to believe that this is another bureaucratic step in making the educational machine as efficient as possible, leaving students with little in terms of resources. While this change does make course selection more efficient, the real benefit comes for the students.
Principal Di Yim said, “the goal is for the students themselves to be engaged in their course selection, and taking the opportunity to talk to their parents about it more.”
She also clarified that “this change did not happen suddenly. We had a group of leadership students last year do the online scheduling, and that worked very well.”
Other schools in the district have been piloting their own programming changes, which have been successful.
Superintendent Kevin Skelly explained that “while many schools, such as Aragon and Hillsdale, have done online programming for a while, we are still testing out different ways to perfect the system. I know they have had success with it in the past, so that’s why we are starting it here.”
Skelly added, “[online programming] makes decisions more accurate. Students know what they are inputting into the program. There isn’t a whole lot that can go wrong.”
The online scheduling we have today will undergo troubleshooting and will hopefully see more changes as a result in the future.