AHS limits students’ passions

When the senior class graduates AHS in June, so will any remembrance of the old, 8-period AB schedule that ended after the 2015/2016 school year. The Junior class and remaining underclassmen will never know about the way things could’ve been. Now, as the sophomores begin consideration of the IB Diploma, they will also have to reconsider the electives they love and the passions they wish to pursue.

In comparison to the old schedule, the 7-period schedule limits the number of electives an AHS student can take by a total of up to 8 classes throughout their four years at AHS. However, students who wish to pursue the IB Diploma- a highly encouraged endeavor by the school and college counselors- are limited even further. With a requirement of six IB classes along with discovery, IB Diploma Juniors have just one available period for electives. Beginning this year, however, TOK (Theory of Knowledge)- a required class for IB Diploma has been moved to the seventh-period block- instead of its usual place after school on Wednesdays. This revision to the schedule eliminates the possibility for Diploma students to enjoy any of their academic passions outside of the Diploma. Students who wish to pursue the IB Diploma program are tasked with a difficult choice: the rigorous academics of the IB Diploma or the electives they’re passionate about, such as theatre, music, debate, or *cough cough* journalism.

Three years ago, when the schedule was first switched from the 8-period block schedule, one of the administration’s main justifications was that IB students were not getting the required hours in class. IB students were therefore at a disadvantage when taking their IB exams in May. Now, the same schedule that was designed to benefit these students is inhibiting them from enjoying the subjects and passions they were taught to embrace.

While a 7-period schedule may be necessary for students’ success on the IB tests, eliminating the opportunity for electives is not. AHS should offer alternatives for students who wish to pursue the passions the schedule is now excluding. One obvious alternative could be offering more courses such as TOK, art, civics, calculus, or discovery during the 8-period block after school on Wednesdays. Another, perhaps more practical alternative, could be switching the schedule to an 8-period split schedule: allowing math and language classes to meet every day for quick classes and science and English classes to meet every other day for longer, block classes. This would eliminate the confusion of students taking Calculus and Discovery after school, science teachers trying to plan a lab during a 50-minute class, and- most importantly- students having to sacrifice the electives they are passionate about to pursue rigorous academics.