In order to help students make the most informed decisions possible about choosing classes for next year, the Galileo counseling department has provided students with more resources. Galileo students in the 9th, 10th, and 11th grade received packets which contained their transcript, along with a course selection worksheet where they are be able to see all their available options for classes.
In addition, an AP and Honors class contract, which students and their parents will have to sign before being accepted into the class, was also handed out. The Galileo counseling staff hopes that with all the information students received, the large number of students who have been trying to drop Honors and AP Classes will be cut down.
A final way the counseling staff is helping students choose classes is by making a course catalog available on the Galileo website, which contains a syllabus for every class.“The course catalog will allow students and parents to see what they’re making a commitment towards and signing up for. We wanted a system where students go through the whole syllabus and determine whether the class is for them. We don’t want to be gatekeepers as counselors and let students make their own decisions, but we also want to advocate for the students and have them make the best decisions possible,” counselor, Mr. Amador, stated.
This new system is a drastic change from the process that has been done in past years for selecting classes. Before, students weren’t given the time or the resources to find out enough information about the classes they were signing up for. The spirit behind this change was that the Galileo staff realized that many kids were dropping AP and Honors courses because they were not prepared for the rigor of the classes.
“When we have one or two students per class dropping the class, that’s not a big deal, but when we have a class where half the students are trying to drop it along with their parents, they all need somewhere to go. Sometimes the schedule won’t fit, and we’ll have to change a student’s entire schedule to accommodate,” explained counselor Mr. Amador.
AVID counselor Ms. Marshman elaborated, saying, “This made us reflect on whether students know what they’re signing up for. The course catalog will provide all the information about the class and the contract will prevent students from dropping these classes.”
However, this isn’t the only major change happening regarding classes. Students from the AP Statistics class recently conducted a survey where they had 175 students choose from a list of eleven elective classes, some new and some already existing. Survey takers were able to choose 3 out of the 11 that they were most interested in. “The data we collected was presented at the leadership meeting and discussion will be continued in the fall to see which electives got the most interest, and whether they will become actual classes,” Ms. Marshman explained.
However, these changes will not be immediate, as there are many complications regarding introducing new classes. “These new changes won’t necessarily take place next year, but the year after, due to the long process of making a new class, finding a teacher, and overall just the amount of work that has to go into it,” said Ms. Marshman.
When asked about the spirit behind all of these sudden, drastic changes, Ms. Marshman had to say, “As a school we are being very reflective of things that we’ve been doing and whether they’ve been working or not. Since we have new administration in our new principal and assistant principals, coupled with us being under scrutiny from WASC, we’re forced to reflect on everything we’ve been doing and implement changes.”
Students are happy with the additional information the counseling staff is giving out. Sophomore Ameer H. applauded the new changes, saying, “I think these changes are really good. Choosing which classes you want to take is a big decision so the more information you have, the better. I also like the idea of having a survey from students themselves to see what classes should be introduced because it’s giving the students a voice.” Junior Max Miles echoed Ameer’s statement, saying, “The new resources will definitely help me in making a decision about classes I’m on the fence about. The survey is a good idea too because it will give some students the classes they want instead of just having them choose from existing classes they have no interest in.”