The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Keep It or Drop It


As the new school year goes into full swing, some students will find out that a class they picked isn’t what they thought it is. Even for students who try to make changes as early as Running of the Bulls, modifying schedules can be hard.

Assistant Principal Ben Clausnitzer explains why: this school currently has more then 2,500 students; this number combined with a tight budget makes organizing schedules difficult.

Also, each section of classes costs $20,000, and administration is required to cap off each class with an average 32.5:1 student-to-teacher ratio. These factors combined makes it even harder to find room. Dropping a class only requires student, parent and teacher signatures on a slip. However, changing levels within the same subject, such as moving from AP US History to US History, is exponentially more difficult to execute.

“We [now] live in a world with more students and fewer dollars. Students really need to be in communication with their parents and guidance counselors. They need to make sure they get it right in the spring because thereís just no space for adding classes during the fall,” Claunitzer said.

Starting early in the school year, students themselves cannot initiate the drop and add process. Reasons such as “the class is too hard,” “I don’t like the teacher,” or the student does not have enough friends in the class, will not aid in convincing administration to begin the process. Teachers themselves must initiate the process for level changes by contacting a guidance counselor or the studentís assistant principal to bring up the studentís situation.

A senior, who requested her name to remain anonymous was overwhelmed by the workload of AP Chemistry in early September. She attempted to switch to Physiology citing the fact that she did well in AP Biology in junior year, but her request was rejected because she missed the deadline to change classes.

Unable to handle the class any longer, she dropped the class without the opportunity to switch, and she is currently taking Abnormal Psychology at De Anza College.

“I donít really blame them because after two weeks into the school year, you wouldn’t like a student come after two weeks have passed because [the student] would have to catch up with everything,” she said. “[The teacher] most likely already will have a quiz and it would be too much to handle.”

Even then, the student may still have to remain in the same class.

Guidance counselor Sarah Hershey also emphasizes the importance of making wise decisions during the spring. Due to class sizes and complications, the guidance counselors have completely closed off switching classes for students.

Hershey recalls that, as in previous years, switching classes creates the problem of finding room in the class and can also be hard on the student and the teacher. Entering a class after six weeks of teaching will be an unpleasant shock for both.

The annual Course Fair in March allows students to visit classes available to them the following year. Designed to help students pick the appropriate classes, the Course Fair allows them to meet teachers and view future coursework. Students that drop classes but are unable to enter another can enroll in community college or online courses to make up for missed credits.

“I realize teens make mistakes and sometimes get ahead of themselves,” Hershey said. “But please make wise decisions. Go to the Course Fair, and talk to us beforehand.”

More to Discover