Under Pressure

Students forced into Running Start.


By Caroline Ashby

Imagine being able to take courses in American Sign Language, vector calculus, and organic chemistry before graduating from high school. For many juniors and seniors at Garfield, these exotic classes have become part of their daily routine. This path is called Running Start, a program which allows juniors and seniors to study for free at a local community college.
“[Running Start] allows students to be out of the building [and] have the chance to see what the college environment and atmosphere is about,” said Mr. Willis, the Garfield counselor for Running Start. “It gives students the opportunity to take courses that typically aren’t at Garfield, and it gives students the option to get extra credits which they might need.”
While most Running Start students enter the program by choice, this year’s overfilled Garfield classes have forced some students to consider dual enrollment. One such student is Camille Maruceri, a senior who has heard of Running Start, but never thought about signing up.
“I was working with my counselor about my schedule and he basically changed my whole schedul with Running Start filler classes and gave me a Running Start form,” Mauceri said.
While there have been new teachers hired to help with overcrowded classrooms, many Garfield classes have simply been downgraded from giant to large. Garfield currently has over 1800 students, which is 200 more students Seattle Public Schools estimated.
“We are getting some new teachers, but it doesn’t seem like it’s enough,” Maruceri said. “I understand given how full the classes are and [Running Start] was a way to decrease that issue, but it didn’t feel right that a high school counselor was pushing students out of high school.”