Conflicts with course scheduling

Students face difficulties while virtually selecting classes for next year

Students selected their courses for the 2021-22 school year online through a Google Form, but many of the counselor conferences happened after the form was due which left many students with unanswered questions regarding next year’s classes. 

School counselor and course programming leader Sajida Syed explained that the counselor conferences allowed students to ask questions about the classes mentioned in the Jones course handbook, but are not as beneficial as in-person meetings. 

“There are a lot of questions that students have about the course scheduling handbook, and with the conferences, I felt like we were able to really talk about all of the questions they had and make sure students were confident in their choices,” said Syed. “With the form, that personal connection is definitely missing.”

Prior to COVID-19, students were pulled out of their classes to have in-person counselor meetings about class selections. These meetings make the course scheduling process take longer, but they also allow counselors to connect with their students. 

“The only upside, which is paired with a downside, is the fact that the form is a faster process,” said Syed. “We’re not sitting and talking to every single student, but again, that’s what we like to do as counselors. We like those relationships, we like in-person sessions with students, and we don’t get very many because we’re not teachers. We don’t get to see you all every day and build those relationships.”   

Stella Moster ‘23 didn’t have her counselor meeting until after the form was due, which she said made the process more confusing. 

“There were some parts of the scheduling process that I didn’t really understand, especially because I am enrolled in CTE,” said Moster. “I have some classes that I’m going to need to take over the summer or just some electives that I won’t be able to do because I don’t have room in my schedule. I think it would have been helpful if I could have talked to my counselor about that before I filled out my schedule form.” 

Similar to Moster, Liz Allen-Gabin ‘23 didn’t have her counselor meeting until after the course form was due. 

“I did have a hard time getting in contact with my counselor to talk about courses,” said Allen-Gabin. “It was kind of weird because I met with her during our sophomore connection after I filled out the course scheduling form.” 

Some students relied on their upperclassmen peers and teachers for advice about classes when they couldn’t access their counselors. 

“I was talking to teachers and friends and classmates who are older than myself, and it felt like I had to branch out in places that I shouldn’t have to when I could have just had that first meeting with my counselor and solved all my questions then,” said Moster.

The form worked very well for students that already had an idea of what classes they wanted to take. Kids that looked in-depth at the course handbook would not have really needed a counselor meeting.

“The form was pretty effective for me because I was on top of it, but worse for people who weren’t stressed out initially and then had questions later. It was very contactless in terms of support scheduling,” said Allen-Gabin.

The counseling department has considered using this Google form method moving forward; the form will ideally be paired with some type of counselor meeting.

“We’re thinking about maybe moving to this type of model next year, but at the same time having some more interaction with students, not just a form. We can have a form in order to get the logistics done, but then also figure out a way to have that conversation with students,” said Syed.