The Ex Ed Lottery 2.0 – Out in the Open


Photo courtesy of Jesse Hoffman.

The 2019 San Francisco Backpacking group stands in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. Students used the old lottery system in order to obtain a spot on the trip.

The Ex Ed Lottery – previously viewed by students as incomprehensible, a mystical power perhaps, or possibly rigged – is getting a facelift. After receiving feedback from students, teachers, and parents, the Ex Ed Committee collaborated with math teacher Josh Anderson and Junior Alex Appleby to develop a lottery system that can be understood and truly utilized by all.

The Ex Ed Committee, Appleby, and Anderson are looking to change the reputation and function of the lottery. Common issues with the current lottery system, such as students attempting to avoid getting their first choice, losing all points if one receives their first choice, or students having four years of trips that they find undesirable, are being addressed in the creation of the new lottery system. The committee also would like to prioritize educating students on how this new lottery system works.
Alex Appleby, a Junior at AHS, tasked with coding a new lottery system, feels the fundamentals of the current system need to change.

“The issue we’re kind of confronting right now is that no one knows what’s going on. No [student] really understands the Ex Ed lottery anyway,” Appleby said. “It’s just kind of unintuitive, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense because the way we reward students with the current system is you’re effectively rewarded for getting trips that you don’t want to be on. The incentives for being on trips just weren’t correct with the system as it was.”

Brent Maiolo, a member of the Experiential Education Committee, has watched students participate in the lottery for years and has noticed some problems.

“Kids have always tried to “game” the system, which as much as they like to think they can, there’s not really a way to cheat the lottery,” Maiolo said.

In this new system, (full details published on the
“It is designed to give more control to the students in how they are signing up for courses and ultimately using the points they’ve accrued,” Maiolo said.

Information about how the new Ex Ed Lottery will function in its entirety will be published as soon as the Experiential Education Committee finalizes details.