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June 10, 2005

Counseling department offers abbreviated schedules

by Varun Gulati, Page Editor
The Blair counseling department recently increased the versatility of alternative schedules for seniors. The new, one-class abbreviated schedule will allow seniors to gain work experience or take college classes during their senior year, according to Blair guidance counselor James Distler.

Until recently, Blair had been encouraged to fill seniors' schedules, but recently, "common sense" guided the counseling department to allow alternative options, according to Distler.

Students can now take one class in their senior year, the required English 12 credit. "If [students are] smart in their scheduling, they could eliminate all requirements in three years," he said. Instead, Distler hopes that students will take advantage of the extra year and look at other options, such as electives that would "enrich their lives."

The counseling department hopes that abbreviated schedules will allow students to get a jump on employment or earning college credits. The department also believes that the new schedules may alleviate overcrowding problems at Blair.

Blair also offers seniors the option of taking classes at Montgomery College (MC) during the academic year. About 85 to 90 percent of credits earned from MC can be transferred to other four-year colleges and universities, noted Distler. Community college credits earned during senior year can also boost students' grade point averages and increase their chances of acceptance to the college of their choice.

Distler said that alternative scheduling would expand students' options. "Now, with this open-mindedness, we are taking into consideration students' likes, dislikes and goals," he said. He warns, however, that abbreviated schedules must be considered with caution and tailored to suit the students' needs. "Abbreviated scheduling is not for everyone. It should be done on an individual, one-on-one basis," said Distler.



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  • 05er on June 11, 2005 at 12:52 AM
    is this for the whole county then since they have the 4 credits during senior year rule?
  • DUH on June 12, 2005 at 6:55 PM
    about gosh darn time
  • Mr. Grossman (Social Studies) (View Email) on June 13, 2005 at 10:45 AM
    The one-class 12th grade option will do more to harm students than help them. While internships and real world work experiences are an essential part of the education process, demanding little of seniors could result in academic regression.

    Questions that concerned parents should ask include:

    1. How will students be made accountable for making their internship experience meaningful?
    2. Will they be asked to submit a report or some form of summative assessment regarding their internship experience?
    3. Will, in essence, taking a year off high school improve or hurt students prospects of getting into their choice of colleges.

    This past year I encountered students who had a second semester abbreviated schedule. In theory, these students were suppose to be working in some form of internship. In reality they weren't doing anything during the latter half of the day. It was unclear to me who was accountable for overseeing their progress.

    Too many internships result in students doing menial tasks for offices unwilling to invest time or energy to teach an intern to do substantive work. While such an experience provides a student with exposure to different career options, it does not necesarily make them more marketable to the work world or to universities.

    The same intership experiences could be incorporated into the school year in a way that enables each student to have a meaningful internship experience with teacher guidance. For instance, during the last 2 months of 12th grade, students could be encouraged to take on interships or independent studies and then develop a report/ presentation about their experience. This type of option would ensure that we hold 12th graders to high standards and still provide them the opportunity to experience a real work setting.
  • Anonymous on June 13, 2005 at 9:52 PM
    Why doesn't the school/school system allow people to graduate a year early, waiving the 4 year English requirement if they have taken AP English as many juniors do? This way students who have already taken college level English are not trapped in high school for another year simply to take another English class, often honors English 12, a lower level class than what they've taken already. Then they could go to college and continue their education at a steady level rather than dropping rigor becuase they have taken all the challenging classes in the subjects that interst them.
  • 04alum (View Email) on June 14, 2005 at 9:35 PM
    if u choose to have work study senior yr. you'll atcually have two classes. eng. 12 and worksrudy class. Or are they illiminating the work study class all together. i think they better not (the state wouldn't allow it anyway). it's vital and students learn what they wouldn't unless they crash and burn "on the job". true, as a senior i thought whats the point but it didn't take me long to be thankful for it and really enjoy it (thanks Ms. Raider)
  • 04 alum on June 21, 2005 at 12:35 PM
    during my senior year i had only 4 classes. but i didn't have to take the workstudy class. i was in the internship program. i had to show Mr. Hopkins my paystubs that i did have an internship. i wish they had dis when i was there. the only real class i took was english. the rest were to just to feel my day.
  • wait a second on June 22, 2005 at 10:04 AM
    "...alleviate overcrowding problems at Blair"

    -Then they might as well make HS a 3 year system. Getting rid of seniors to reduce Blair population? This is ridiculous.
  • to wait a second on June 23, 2005 at 5:17 PM
    for many students HS is practically 3 years with a 4th year filled with junk classes because they need to take English. What is ridiculous is that these people, often people who took AP English in 11th grade must take English again in 12th grade rather than graduating a year early.
  • alumna3 (View Email) on July 13, 2005 at 5:42 AM
    i wish this '1-class abbreviated schedule' was available when i was at blair. if it was i would have siigned up instead of skipping 3,4,5a, and 6 pd every day.

    to mr grossman:
    while i understand your worry about students being lazy or interning in mindnumbing positions, i do nt agree with you that the 1 class schedule should not be allowed. as you stated:

    "Too many internships result in students doing menial tasks for offices unwilling to invest time or energy to teach an intern to do substantive work. "

    do not punish students because the offices are lazy. after 3 years of hard work, i think 1 class schedule and do nothing internship is well deserved. high school today is sooo much harde than before,& gets harder every yr. if you survive to/thru your sr yr, you deserve to chill before you are sentenced to another 4 yrs hard labor in college/univ.

    having a presentation at the end is fine. of course throughout the yr work and interning must be verified. i remember mrs rader would even show up at our jobs,take pics, meet our bosses and coworkers.

    taking only 1 class sr yr will not hurt ones chances of geting into college/univ.(for example, DP had 1/2 day schedule and sull went on to drexel univ in pa nad then umcp. both of these univ cost way tooo much so she had some change to put up herself lessening the loan she had to take just a bit).
    ones whole transcript, whole high school career is looked at, as well as recs, and extra curric activities. plus when you have your interview, one will explain their choice to intern/work sr yr to gain experience and earn $$$ to pay these enormous tuition bills. i dont think colleges/univ will fault students for that, i think they will understand and see that as a responsible young person trying to learn and earn towards their college/univ experience.

    ~~lilkunta@excite.com

  • aluman3 (View Email) on July 13, 2005 at 5:44 AM
    if 1 takes eng 12a and eng 12b in summr skool the summr b4 their sr yr, would 1 be allowed 2 just work full time and show up and graduate in june? that would be so cool!!!
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