Berkeley High Beat: Start-of-the-Year Worries at BHS

By Rio Bauce
Tuesday September 12, 2006

Could you imagine being a student who didn’t have a math class for five days? Could you imagine being a student desperately trying to switch out of a class of 50 students? Could you imagine being a student who signed up for Latin 5/6, but ended up in Spanish 1/2? 

These questions that have been posed have become reality for many Berkeley High School (BHS) students. While students have been frantically trying to meet with their counselors to change their schedules, the counselors have not been as helpful as they could be. 

They closed the doors to the counseling office and put parent volunteers out to guard the doors at the main office. The administration’s response is that schedule changes will be handled as quickly as possible, but that priority to meet with counselors is given to new students. This is understandable. Students who don’t yet have schedules, which was at around 180, should get first priority. 

School started on Aug. 13. However, many students had to wait around in their classes against their own wishes, hoping for a schedule change in the near future. 

Just last Thursday, the administration finally allowed students to make appointments, which was a big relief. 

A large number of students are requesting schedule changes. However, it is ridiculous that more than a week after school had started, the wishes of students had not been honored. 

Countless numbers of students have been going through this dilemma. They just sat in the classes they got, not paying attention, because they thought that they could switch out of them. High school isn’t supposed to be this stressful. Students have enough to deal with through classes, parents, extra-curriculars, social issues, et cetera. To laden the students with so much more stress is unthinkable and wrong. 

BHS seems to have a lack of counseling staff to deal with schedule change requests. Perhaps they should hire more counselors so that students can be served better. At any rate, BHS should come up with a better solution to schedule changes, so that students next year won’t have to deal with the same dysfunctional system that students have had to deal with this year. 

This year has been by far the slowest in processing schedule changes since this writer came to Berkeley High School in 2004. Usually, the turn-around is a couple of days. Sweeping change is needed and it’s needed fast.