In high school, students have the freedom to choose their own classes. Right?
Several Granite Bay High School students say they had little influence on their schedules, some having no involvement in the decisions of what classes they would take as a new student.
A junior boy, who wished to remain anonymous to keep his thoughts truthful and honest, transferred to GBHS in August 2017.
“They printed my schedule without questioning about my classes or anything,” the anonymous student said in a text message. “I thought it was kind of weird, I didn’t even pick my classes.”
The student says he didn’t have a choice in his electives, either.
“I was hoping to take journalism or some other elective that was listed in the catalog,” the anonymous student said.
The student was also discouraged from taking any AP classes, and was placed in standard CP courses instead.
“My counselor did not want me to take any AP classes,” the anonymous student said. “She wanted me to ‘acclimate’ to the curriculum here first.”
Junior Jillian Conklin was enrolled in a Spanish 3 class, but her teacher later decided she wasn’t yet ready to take the course. She was instead placed in Spanish 2 again, even after passing it in the past term.
“I didn’t want to be in that class because I already passed it with a B,” Conklin said in a text message. “At first, I wasn’t happy because I didn’t want to be placed in another Spanish class… but then we talked it out & both decided it would be best for me if I was in Beginning Piano instead of another academic class.”
Conklin said she is very happy in Beginning Piano, and says she felt better when everything was taken care of.
Counselor Tiffani Gieck says there are many factors to consider when creating a transfer student’s schedule, including the timing of transfer, availability of class options in the master schedule, and credit and graduation requirements.
“We try and align the students schedule with where they were coming from,” Gieck said in an email. “We also review to see what they may be deficient in as they need to meet our district grad requirements which may differ from their school.”
Students often transfer from schools with traditional schedules with 6-7 classes to the RJUHSD block system, with 4 classes per semester. This further challenges counselors help students adjust well.
“We consider the transition to a new school and the challenges with acclimating alongside dropping into academic classes,” Gieck said. “Lastly, it depends on the master schedule and if there is room in specific classes (or) specific periods. We do not want overload class sizes.”
When a transfer student is cleared by the district for enrollment, the counseling department tries to place them in classes as soon as possible.
If a student’s family is flexible in when to start attending GBHS, counselors try to have them start at the beginning of a grading period to make the transition easier.
Gieck says it is easier for students to adjust with a manageable course load.
The counseling department assesses a student’s past transcript to choose classes that will lead the student to success.
Student Government, the Peer Resource Center, and Link Crew collaborate to involve the new student into GBHS life.
“Changing schools in the middle of the year is difficult in itself,” Gieck said. “Each situation may be different.”