With schedule deadlines still in the rear-view mirror and the online change request deadline quickly approaching, students are becoming more and more frustrated with the state of our guidance department. While the overwhelming nature of this busy season for school counselors seems daunting, a solution seems outlandish; however, all we must do is give scheduling information to students and their families before winter break.
It’s unreasonable to assume students will not benefit from more time to make their schedule. Allowing students, especially underclassmen, ample time to plan out their next year’s schedule is key to their long term success. If a student wants time over winter break to best outline the necessary courses he or she need to set themselves up well for college, why aren’t we allowing that extra time?
Beginning the scheduling process before break also ensures the guidance department can allot time for snow days. Between late starts, ice days and an unpredictable Missouri winter, guaranteeing freshmen have enough time in advisories to navigate their first real scheduling experience is just unrealistic. Because of the number of missed and shortened A and B days this year, Advisory teachers and senior mentors were not given optimal time to spend with freshmen to advise them in the decision making process. Additionally, assuming that students are supported in schedule making at home by their parents or guardians is wrong. As much help students can get while in school, the better.
Columbia Public Schools should be hiring more guidance staff, especially at the high school level, to better this process. It’s unfair to expect school counselors to manage writing letters of recommendation for their seniors, organizing their student’s next two or three years of high school, and setting students up for success in the post graduate world, all the while fulfilling the needs of any student who walks through their doors in need of help. Our guidance staff is required to wear too many hats and a seven hour school day is not enough time to balance all of those tasks.
For this reason, we do not propose that the deadline is extended further into the spring because it’s understood that course requests make decisions regarding hiring and firing. Starting earlier may help to ease the bombardment of work on the counselors in such a short period of time. The deadline should remain the same, the opening date should just move up.
What have been your frustrations with scheduling classes? Let us know in the comments below!