The benefits of an early scheduling week end up outweighing the inconveniences


Notoriously known as one of the most stressful weeks during the school year, scheduling week is rapidly coming to a close as students submit their future class requests.

Seniors are busy figuring out their post-high school plans; meanwhile, freshmen through juniors are hustling to pick their next year classes in the week provided, and counselors and teachers are working together to help make students make the best class choices.

“I think the whole building finds [scheduling week] stressful,” counselor Sarah Van’t Hof laughed. “It’s very busy, and there are a lot of things to do, like helping students pick classes that best suit them.”

The week began with an hour-long assembly dedicated to educating students on the classes FHC provides, followed by 30 minutes to wander into teachers’ rooms to learn more about classes of their interests.

As much of a hassle as it may seem to students, staff around the school find the week to be very productive and important.

“I think that [scheduling week] is a really good opportunity for students,” English teacher Lisa Penninga said. “It is important that scheduling takes place now because it gives students a chance to discuss, talk about, and choose what classes are best for them, and then the counselors have enough time to put together a master schedule.”

One of the leading factors that cause scheduling week to be so stressful is that it is so early in the year; however, the timing is key to the overall process of creating a master schedule.

“Scheduling ahead of time is not a building decision,” Van’t Hof said. “We have to schedule so early because the district has to know how many classes, how many sections of each class need to be offered, and who is going to teach what; all of this can change within a given year.”

Considering all the given reactants that need to be taken into account to produce the final master schedule, the system is quite complex and often stressful for not just the students, but also the counselors.

We anticipate there will be changes, so we just focus on working with what we have.”

— Counselor Sarah Van't Hof

“[Putting schedules together] is tricky because we rely a lot on our principal and on our registrar, who work within PowerSchool to run the program that creates the schedule,” Van’t Hof said. “But there are only three-and-a-half counselors to help with this process, and with three-and-a-half counselors and about thirteen-hundred students, [forming the schedules] is a lot of work to try and get everyone inputted and educated on the classes offered.”

However, although the early timing of scheduling classes is key for counselors, many students find themselves wishing the timing was a little further into the year.

“I think scheduling early in the year is kind of a negative thing for me,” freshman Hannah Alm said. “I don’t know how I’m going to finish in my current classes, so that makes it hard to choose what to take next year. I feel like if scheduling was more towards exam time, when I knew how I was going to finish up this year, [it] would be a better time for scheduling my next courses.”

Hannah’s thoughts aren’t just specific to her; other students around the school are stuck feeling the same way.

“I don’t like [early scheduling] because I want to see how all of my classes end of this year and then base my choices for next year on that,” sophomore Gabe Moraru said.

Even the students that understand the importance of the early timing remain stuck each year feeling overwhelmed.

“I don’t mind the early scheduling,” junior Fadi Muallem said. “It makes sense because the counselors need time to set up everyone’s schedules. However, one downside is when it gets to the time they open up our schedules, I usually end up wanting to switch at least one class. I could end up wanting to take a class I have already taken a prerequisite for or wanting to take a completely new class.”

Nonetheless, counselors are aware of these issues and do their best to anticipate and work around the uncertainty some students feel when they submit their class request forms.

“One of the things [the counselors] assume about scheduling so early is that we will usually receive a bunch of class-change requests,” Van’t Hof said. “We anticipate there will be changes, so we just focus on working with what we have.”

Scheduling week simply stands as a week for students to make the best class choices based on the information the staff does their best to present.

“Every year, we improve on informing students about classes,” Penninga said. “The staff is constantly trying to learn every year and improve the system so students can choose the classes that are best for them and their interests.”

The time that the FHC staff uses to inform students about classes isn’t something that they are “required” to do. They are working to benefit and allow for the best student decisions to be made.

However bothersome scheduling week may be for students, the staff, especially the counselors, finds it critical that students use the entire time they are allotted to pick the classes they truly want to take.

“We build a master schedule based upon what students tell us they want,” Van’t Hof said. “If they make a change a few months from now and say, ‘Scratch that I don’t want to do any of these classes anymore,’ then we didn’t create a spot for them somewhere else. That is why taking time to really think about what classes to pick is so important and why we try and provide as much information as we can about each class.”

Although scheduling week administers stress in some students, counselors, and FHC staff, it is important and is being done for the welfare of students.

In the end, students remain content with their allowance and freedom of choosing classes, and the counselors arrange enough time to thoroughly put together a master schedule based on the requests of the students.

“[Scheduling week] is stressful,” Fadi said. “But at the end of the week after submitting classes, I end up glad I get to choose my classes and mostly confident in what I have selected to take. The week overall is important for everyone, and I’m thankful for what teachers and staff do to help us become as prepared as we can and make informed class decisions.”