Counseling Crash Course

How classes are generated at Garfield High School.


Art by Kathryn Porter

In a school filled with about 2000 students, getting the right resources for every student can be difficult. These difficulties range from kids that get enrolled/unenrolled from Garfield, seniors having top priority, and course changes.

We all have this big question on how classes are generated and Daniel Lee, head counselor offers his input on how classes are chosen. “It starts with building the master schedule, meaning what classes are we gonna offer, how many sections of classes we’re going to offer, and who’s gonna teach those classes,” said Lee. “Administration has a big role in deciding that.”

The classes students pick in the spring are used to create the master schedule for the following school year. “For example if we get 30 requests for computer science, then we will create one section of computer science based on the numbers that we see are requested,” said Lee.

At times this can be a hassle for both the student and counselor. Lee states that the beginning of the school year is definitely stressful for all counselors. “We have processed over 1,000 course changes between all of the counselors just this beginning of the year.” This is because students are put into the wrong classes, have a hole in their schedule, or that the majority of the time, it’s students who say “I don’t want to be in this class anymore.” These same reasons, tend to be prioritized, including people in need of graduation requirements.

Lee also mentions that when a student chooses their classes in the spring, it is most likely that they will stick with that exact course to avoid having long lines or conflicts at the beginning of the school year. When a student switches out of a class, that has a huge affect on how classes are put together due to classes being formed based on the number of students there are in a course.

Lee says that one of the top priorities for the school is to have 12th grade students get the classes they need to graduate, and also for students who receive special educational services.

A problem we’ve had with scheduling is not having the right amount of funding from the school district and state to give all students six classes, so there’s not a whole lot of classes we can offer due to limited budgets. “We’re the face of the schedules so a lot of the frustration gets directed towards us, but I want people to know that it’s a large issue, and not just about how your counselor doesn’t want you to have a class you want” said Lee.