A panel of four teachers and administrators from a variety of departments held an informational meeting about course registration for parents and students last Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the film lecture hall.
Vice principal Amy Winston spoke first about balancing course loads, encouraging students to “be thoughtful” about the number of strenuous courses on their schedule. She explained that students often feel pressured to take more rigorous classes because of the misconception that a large percentage of students do so as well. She added that, in actuality, only “about half of students take an honors class at all.”
Winston also reminded parents that the “W-Rule” will be implemented next year. Under the W-Rule, students who drop a course will receive a “W” or withdrawal on their transcripts. However, she explained that there is no data to prove that a “W” on a student’s transcript has negatively affected college admissions, and the W-Rule does not apply to level changes.
Next, interim director of career and technical education Tom Gwin, special education department chair Kate McCarthy, and fine and performing arts department chair Todd Young spoke specifically about their departments.
Gwin explained the value of career and technical education classes, calling the department a “gem.” He spoke about the importance of classes ranging from Automotive to Design and Visual Communications, which not only teach students about careers, but also build practical skills such as problem solving and critical thinking.
Winston added that these non-academic classes serve as a break in the day for students, and allow them “to use their brain in a different way, to think differently, and to engage differently.”
Similarly, Young spoke about how art classes also relieve stress and challenge students to develop diverse skills through a creative outlet. “You are better served by getting yourself into a class that switches the lense of your thinking,” he said.
He added that art classes benefit all students, even those who do not consider themselves artists. Young explained that these students benefit in particular from art classes because they are given an outlet to express creativity; subsequently, he encouraged them not to be afraid to pursue new curiosities.
“If you’re interested in something, we’re here to help you with that,” said Young.