Mount Si Registration Postponed Over Concerns Raised at School Board Meeting

Three Mount Si High School juniors, Lydia Petroske, Ali (Alexandra) Raphael and Maile Young, addressed the Snoqualmie Valley School Board Thursday, April 18, 2013, with concerns over the scheduling of year-long courses, which they stated was making it impossible to get the schedules needed for their senior year.

They explained to the board that because many year-long (some core) courses were being split into differentMtSi periods during each semester, they could not achieve their optimal schedules, along with multiple other students whom they were representing.  The students said most of the scheduling conflicts were with AP math, AP science and 4th year world language courses.

In closing, the young women said that the scheduling issues weren’t only affecting AP courses. They said band students were also impacted by the scheduling splits. The Mount Si master schedule shows about 43 year-long courses being split to different classes periods each semester, six of which are AP courses.

The ladies stated that affected students had “reached a road block” and so were requesting that the school board delay registration by one week in order for them to collectively work with counselors to see if changes could be made to help achieve desired schedules.

Principal John Belcher made a public announcement address to Mount Si students last Friday, asking those with scheduling problems see himself and/or counselors, as staff would help ensure students’ schedules would work.  He stated for many students, scheduling conflicts could be alleviated by simply requesting a different teacher for a particular class or choosing the course during a different period.  He said, though, that in some cases, tough elective choices would have to be made; like in the case of AP Spanish where many students wishing to take the course were having conflicts.

No mention was made on Friday to delay the impending online registration process as requested by the three students.

Today, though, Principal Belcher announced that registration would be delayed by one week.  Via email Belcher said, “Due to concerns and questions raised at last Thursday’s Board meeting, and subsequent conversations thereafter, the decision has been made to postpone registration for one week for current 9th, 10th, and 11th graders. The current 8th grade registration process will continue as planned on Wednesday of this week, since the concerns raised do not affect incoming freshmen courses.”

Principal Belcher went on to comment that “creating a schedule for 1600+ students is a significant undertaking, and every year there are conflicts in courses that emerge.” He explained that in the past they worked with students who had schedule conflicts, and they will do so again this year to the best of their ability.

Belcher said, “While this year’s schedule works for a strong majority of students, the additional time will allow us to further review concerns and questions that have surfaced recently.”

Revised scheduling dates and times will be forwarded to families through district E-news and announcements on the Mount Si High School website.

 

Comments

  1. Sheryl Landstrom says

    Although I do not have a student this age yet, I am VERY please with the Board for listening to and acting on these students concerns. This not only shows true concern for our students, but shows the student body how one voice can make a difference when voiced properly. A+ Board!

    • Lori Hollasch says

      Hi Sheryl, the A+ should go to Principal Belcher and staff in this situation. It is awesome that the students spoke up. Not sure why they used the school board meeting as their venue because Principal Belcher listens … but they did. And while everyone listened at the meeting, it was Principal Belcher who sprang into action the next morning at the high school.
      (I think the school board would get poor grades if they inserted themselves into micromanaging at the school level in a situation like this. 🙂

      • Becky McLaughlin says

        Hi Lori,
        These students are friends of my son and daughter at Mt Si. They did talk to Principal Belcher about this scheduling issue the day of the board meeting (as did many other students talk to both him and the counselors). The students did not feel that they were able to resolve the issues and get access to the courses they need for college. I believe that they are incredibly well spoken and brave to come face a group of adults to ask for help. They shouldn’t have had to take it to the board, they should have been helped when they first asked.

  2. Stephanie Hager says

    I heard these students speak at the board mtg and it seemed to me that there was a sudden and unexpected inability for some number of seniors and juniors to access certain classes that they had planned on taking during their last year or two of high school. Time was closing in as it was Thursday night and registration for them started the next Monday night, and so it seemed to me watching from the sidelines that their request to postpone registration a week seemed very reasonable. It would give everyone time to do a re-check. The master schedule was different this year than in past years as the students explained because some core, yearlong courses were now split into two semester courses – each semester provided in a different period. That can create a puzzle, and in their cases, and impossible puzzle to solve. When time is running out and you have only one time in your life when you are a high school student, and the classes you had in your “4-year plan” are unexpectedly not possible anymore – then it seems reasonable that they asked to postpone the process temporarily, doesn’t it? What should they have done? The students went to the school board about an accessibility issue, the school board did not go to the students.

    • Rick G Grant says

      Has it been “hysteria” at Mount Si or students using their much encouraged “student voices” that brought about the delay in registration? My understanding is that students tried to voice concerns regarding scheduling at Mount Si, but got nowhere until bringing their concerns to the school board. Wasn’t that the correct and in this case only course of action as their “voices” were not being heard by their school?
      The FLC is being sold to our community as a programmatic improvement for our students. How are we improving programs for upperclassmen at Mount Si? By limiting registration opportunities and asking students to take online courses in their final years of high school? Are freshman getting more or less oppurtunities than they had at the Mount Si campus? By my estimation they are getting less than half the choice. Are middle schoolers getting improved programming by moving backwards to overcrowding on 2 campuses? How are we justifying these compromises?
      Finally, why are we seeing so many issues with registration at Mount Si this year? What has changed? Could it be the opening of the FLC and the 28 teachers who will need to travel between campuses? That is bound to create a real scheduling nightmare which should have been foreseen.

      • Thank you Rick for speaking up! I, too, have been wondering what, if any, new programming is going to be provided middle school kids next year when the District returns to a two middle school concept. During the decision making process to proceed with the FLC, I continuously heard about how having larger middle schools would afford kids the opportunity for increased programming. At one time, foreign language was even discussed. To date, I am unaware of any additional programming being provided middle schoolers, with the exception of a new class announced at TFMS. Middle school is what prepares our kids for the rigors of high school. I do hope there are expanded math pathways so more kids can at least complete Algebra I prior to entering high school. My daughter never was afforded this opportunity, which does not help her with her intended high school path. She is having to take Algebra I in high school, even though she was a perfect candidate for placement in Algebra I in 8th grade. Now, unless she takes summer school, she may be a year behind in math and may not be as competitive an applicant for some of the schools she has her sights set on. : (

  3. Anna sotelo says

    Bravo Rick! You summed it up perfectly!

  4. I have not commented often, but I did raise concerns about the FLC limiting students ability to have full access to classes. I am the parent of an extremely bright student who has slipped through the cracks at Mt Si. My attempts to get assistance were met with apathy. There are so few paths within the existing system, shouldn’t we be focused on solutions that open more pathways for students? As these children enter into adulthood, they will follow many paths to their success, school should be a place for students to learn multiple disciplines, through multiple mechanisms which can only happen if they have access to the classes they choose to set their course. As I prepare to send my second child off to high school, I hope the district leadership listens to a variety of viewpoints. Good policy and good decisions are made through a collaborative process embracing a wide variety of view points and opinions…

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