Administration implements new system for teacher adviser selections
by Liana Pickrell, Ido Gal and Charles Yu
Published April 10, 2014
Palo Alto High School freshmen will be the first to partake in a newly implemented selection process for their sophomore-to-senior-year teacher advisers on April 17 during advisory.
According to Assistant Principal Kathleen Laurence, the new system strives to better pair students with TAs through computer-conducted surveys that will match similar interests of students and advisers.
“The ninth grade students grade students will take a survey, and the TAs will take a survey. … That [the result of the survey] is what we will base the system off of,” Laurence said.
The administration has been discussing the plans for a new selection process for two years in an effort to accommodate growing class sizes, according to Laurence.
“The school’s getting a lot bigger,” Laurence said. “We’re finding that we’re not being able to give students their first choice, and this seemed like a much more efficient way for students.”
This system is also aimed to better match students with their advisers, adviser and English teacher Julia Taylor said.
“[The new system is] responding to student requests to have a TA that shares their interests, so that was why the change came about,” Taylor said. “A lot of freshmen often said that when they were choosing from just the picture and little paragraph that they didn’t really know anything about that person.”
According to Laurence, while changes are being put in place for the selection of 10th to 12th grade TAs, the random lottery selection for freshmen TAs will remain the same as it is now.
According to the handout given to freshmen during advisory today, students will be notified of their newly matched advisers at the beginning of next school year when their course schedules are also released.
The 10th to 12th grade advisers were also asked about their interests for the selection process, according to Taylor.
“We [10th to 12th grade TAs] answered one question that had a number of options on it about what kind of things we’re interested in,” Taylor said.
Taylor said that she thinks the system will work well.
“I think it [the switch to the new system] will be great,” Taylor said. “[Students will be able] to pick a TA that has similar interests.”
Junior Eric Lu has a more skeptical view of the new system.
“I think that people are going to try to game the system to get the advisers they want, and it won’t work out to their [the students’] advantage,” Lu said.