Leveling classes: a domino effect


Photo provided by: Makayla Martindale

During Mrs. Visavachaipan’s 3rd and 4th block period of AP Calculus AB and BC, junior Olivia Abram finishes up an assignment. Due to scheduling, this now 35 student class is the only time the class is offered on campus. “With a lot of kids in that class, it makes it different when you’re learning,” Abram said. “There’s less one-on-one help with the teacher.”

Avery Ranum, Features Editor

Beginning the week of Monday, Aug. 30, a ripple effect spread across students’ schedules as classes were leveled and changed. Students showed up to school finding their classes substantially larger or smaller, and some were entirely dissolved. 

“Classes were leveled for a few reasons,” assistant principal Dr. Daniel Cowgill said. “One reason we needed to level was because we had a teacher move to SCVS and we needed to redistribute those classes. That included closing a standard geometry class and moving those students into different geometry classes.”

One of the classes affected by this was math teacher Kristine Visavachaipan’s AP Calculus AB/BC block. Visavachaipan’s first and second period block of AP Calculus AB/BC class was dissolved, which moved those students into the third and fourth period block.

“I am now teaching Honors Geometry periods one and two,” Visavachaipan said. “Even though we lost a teacher, the county did not give us funds to replace that teacher, so they had to rework the schedule to accommodate the six periods of geometry that the teacher had been teaching. Therefore, me teaching two periods of geometry became part of the solution.” 

Oftentimes, scheduling conflicts lead to students not always getting the classes they signed up for, especially with some classes disbanding altogether. 

“I initially did sign up for AP Physics,” junior Jessica Song said. “I was kind of ‘forced’ to take AP Environmental Science, but I think it worked out. I’m kind of three weeks behind in the class, which sucks, but the teacher is really nice so she understands.”

However, not all scheduling changes led to difficult adjustment. Scheduling fixes also affected students taking the AP Capstone block consisting of AP Language and Composition and AP Seminar. With AP Seminar being a project-based class, this required a shift that some students dealt with nicely. 

“Our AP Seminar class had begun group projects, so the students who moved decided to become a new group together and start a new topic in their new class period,” AP Capstone teacher Debbie Brownrigg said. “They have been so positive to adapt and get creative to adjust. Their former groups greatly miss them, but all are adapting and doing well.”

Ultimately, while potentially inconvenient, the sometimes painful adjustment to changes in schedules will hopefully be short-lived.

“I think we are still early enough in the year that these changes should have minimal impact on students in the long term,” Cowgill said. “While it is very frustrating, about 85% of the school year is left for students to adjust to their new teachers and be successful in those classes.”