Schedule Change Frenzy


Aaron Michaels, Contributor

With the dawn of a new semester comes brand-new classes for every Bob Jones student. This January, however, the counseling suite was met with a higher demand for an altered schedule than ever before. The counselors became so bombarded with students’ schedule changes that they had to lock down their doors to students for the day to sort out the massive onslaught of over 130 students’ class schedules.

This whiteboard in Mrs. Horton’s office shows just how complex and intricate sorting out class schedules can be.

I had the opportunity to speak with both our counselor Mr. Delbridge and Assistant Principal Mrs. Horton about the situation and why it’s important to be certain about your course requests during the sign-up process.

What kind of work goes into changing someone’s class schedule?
Mrs. Horton: “We have to reassess the credit of the class wanting to be dropped, and make sure the student is still on track to graduate. We make sure the student’s transcript is correct and current.”
Mr. Delbridge: “With every schedule you change, you have to go back to make sure the courses they want to change into are actually needed to graduate. When you’re inundated with about 130 schedule changes at the beginning of a new semester, that’s a lot. It’s more than just clicking a single button and making sure the schedule changed. It’s about making sure that all courses stay balanced for the teachers and their schedules, while also keeping enough room for availability for brand-new students.”

What would you say was the most challenging part about that very sudden large workload?
Mrs. Horton: “We balance the schedule in the summer before the school year begins based on student requests. We do balance again before we leave for Winter Break, so we do have class sizes where we want them before students return from break. Also, we can’t account for any new students that arrive after the break, which can be many new students.”

On a scale of one to ten, how difficult was it to balance and rework the dozens of schedules?
Mr. Delbridge: “I would put it between a 7 and an 8. Balancing the different schedules to figure out who goes where isn’t very difficult, but it is very meticulous. It’s not that it’s hard. It’s just that we have to be very careful that we’re not missing anything needed to graduate. It just takes time. It’s not difficult when it’s just one person; it’s just frustrating in large numbers. The number of schedule requests for just ancillary things like wanting to change classes to be with your friends or because you dislike a teacher. See what I mean? I was being comedic about it. Well, I guess it’s Burger King, you know? Everybody wants to have it their way. But it shouldn’t be Burger King. This is public education. We’re making sure that the students have the courses they need for graduation. And you won’t always have your cake and eat it too. And that’s okay. It’s a good life lesson.”

What about the process would you hope to change for future semesters?
Mrs. Horton: “Please, only change schedules out of necessity.”
Mr. Delbridge: “I hope that the policy would be streamlined so only set specific reasons can warrant a schedule change, and if the reason fell outside of that criteria, the answer is a simple no.”

What was the atmosphere at work like that day?
Mr. Delbridge: “It was frustrating at times because students already knew what their schedules were prior to coming back to school in January. They wanted until the last minute to decide what they wanted to change something. Especially with Pre-AP classes, you knew you were in that course well ahead of time because you signed up for it last March. Realistically, the students signed a Pre-AP agreement about dropping Pre-AP classes. It’s just a lot.”

What can students do at their end to make this process more smoothly?
Mrs. Horton: “Know that schedules cannot be changed unless there are duplication of courses, courses are out of sequence, or Sports/PE/Band/Fine Arts need to be corrected due to auditions.”

Mr. Delbridge: “Be proactive. Don’t wait until the last minute. Bring it to my attention towards the end of December, when you know you probably want to change your schedule. And that way, coming back in the spring, we will not have as many to work with or to do and we could spend more time devoted to our new students.”

Do our wonderful and hard-working administrators a favor and put a lot of thought into your course requests this March.