New schedule system more harm than good

Steve Talbot, Sports Editor

Ludlow High School students don’t have much in common.

Aside from distaste for the occasional policy or administrator, there are very few feelings that we all share.But when it comes to schedules, we all share the same angst. Who will our teachers be? Which of our friends will we have classes with? Will we be subjected to first period gym?

In the summers leading into my sophomore and junior year, I remember leaving Freshmen Orientation excitedly, knowing that my schedule would be in the mail by the time I got home.

For that one day each August, the mailman became Santa Claus, and I was an excited child, waiting by the black, plastic “stocking” at the bottom of my driveway.

That nostalgic feeling was taken away this year, as student schedules were held hostage inside the LHS walls until August 31, the first day of school.

Barring those students with the foresight to enroll in the Parent Portal, and those who were allowed a sneak preview during a summer meeting with a guidance counselor, no one knew a thing about their schedule other than which courses they signed up for.

Of course, my issue with the system runs much deeper than a little impatience.

Juniors and seniors, if it seemed abnormal when your guidance counselor came into your class in the winter to hand out course selection sheets, that’s because it was.

I’m not sure I’m allowed to use her name, much less commend her on a good idea, but Mrs. Flanagan suggested we choose our courses early, intending on distributing schedules before summer vacation began.

In my opinion, this was brilliant. Not only would we get our schedules two months earlier than expected, the guidance office would also be free to deal strictly with schedule changes in the summer.

This raises my first question; what happened to our course selection sheets from early March to late June?
It goes without saying that the guidance counselors are capable of gathering course selection sheets, scheduling classes, and having schedules in the mail a week before the first day of school.

Let’s take a look at a little timeline here; I, like most students, turned in my course selection sheet in late-February, early-March. I was called to Guidance to confirm my classes in mid- to late-April. It appeared the guidance counselors were gung ho about getting these schedules done early.

So, why did I get a phone call in early August to resolve a scheduling issue? What else was going on that postponed scheduling for so long?

I understand that Mrs. Brady had a leg injury, and was out of work for the rest of the year. I still don’t see how it could slow down the process so significantly, but I was fine with getting my schedule a week before school as usual.

And then Mr. Halpin broke the news that schedule distribution would not happen until the first day of school.

Why this was done is far beyond me. The second I heard the news, it was obvious that this would cause chaos in the guidance office. And, one week in, it’s obvious that it has.

Other than the social aspect, the biggest benefit to receiving schedules before school begins is that it allows students to fix any problems with their schedules before they have to sit through the class.

Consider the problems this presents to both students and teachers. Students are losing at least one day of a class, and wasting a day in a class they won’t be continuing with.

As for the teachers, one will be dealing with a student that they won’t have for the rest of the year, and another will have to catch that student up when they actually enter the class.

It’s one thing for a student to change a class because they find that, once they’ve actually been in the class, they don’t like it. It’s a problem when the guidance office makes a mistake on a schedule.

For example, I signed up for AP Government, but didn’t meet the prerequisites, and now I’m in standard. Suffice to say, I was confused when a call from guidance included the term “AP.”

I went to the school one morning, looking to make sure I wasn’t in AP Government. I was relieved to know that I wasn’t. But I was surprised to learn that I would have Mr. Fanning…for AP U.S. History.

I’m not even going to try to figure out how that happened. There’s not a single prerequisite for that class that I meet. But what if I hadn’t learned that until the first day of school? How long was I supposed to sit in an AP class full of juniors?

I will never have to pick another class or fix another schedule in my high school career. But for the sake of anyone who might end up in a situation like my own, or one of the many that my friends have told me about, I’m asking the administrators to go back to what worked.

The system wasn’t broken before, but it certainly is now.