Administration enforces policy on schedule changes

Thibault Serlet and Jared Schwartz

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This sign in Palo Alto High School’s guidance office informs students of the limitations of schedule changes this year. [Jared Schwartz]

A new schedule change policy being enforced this year at Palo Alto High School will cause students to be more thoughtful about which courses they sign up for in the future, according to administrators.

“We had this policy before,” said Assistant Principal Kathy Laurence, “The difference is we’re adhering to it.”

“The only big difference is we don’t have a wish list anymore,” she said. “Last year we had a wish list for people wanting to change classes.”

The change in carrying out the policy was made so that the administrators would know how many teachers to hire for each subject, Laurence said.

“We have to hire based on the courses students select, and if it all changes in the fall then our staffing is off,” Laurence said. “They [the teachers] have a contract, we have to find a place for them to teach.”

Laurence also believes that this policy benefits students.

“It makes people be thoughtful about what they’re choosing and recognize that you have to think hard – what is it that you want to do?” she said.

The schedule policy change should not have come as a surprise to anyone, she added.

“They [students and parents] heard it last spring, multiple times, that you need to choose,” Laurence said.

Counselor Charles Taylor, who is in charge of making the course corrections, has expressed his support for the new policy.

“It is just a little bit less work,” Taylor said, “but rather the work is more specific, such as slight corrections.”

Taylor, however, expressed concern that the schedule policy change has not received extensive feedback.

“We need to make sure that the change benefits everyone,” Taylor said. “Not just the teachers or the students. I have not received much feedback.”

Laurence, however, believes that the change has been taken well from the feedback she has received.

“People really have been very polite and accepting,” she said. “I think for the most part people are happier when they get in and they know what they’re doing.”

Taylor is focused on making changes for the future.

“We need to look at feedback of faculty and the student body and make the necessary adjustments looking forward,” Taylor said.