The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Administration implements changes to course selection

Oscar Johnson
Freshmen, sophomores and juniors will meet with their counselors to select courses. New course selection policies will limit students’ abilities to add and drop courses in the fall semester to make the process more efficient.

The Los Altos High School administration announced several changes to the course selection process this year, which prepares students for their class schedules in the upcoming 2024-2025 school year. These changes are listed in the accompanying infographic.

Carissa Lai

Principal Tracey Runeare explained that the stricter policy modifications are designed to make the process more efficient for students and counselors, who previously had to deal with the stress of rearranging schedules after course changes in the fall.

“We’re trying to make it so that students get into classes they’re happy with, and they’re able to feel confident in the class and not feel like they need to change it,” Runeare said. “We’d rather have all that work go in upfront before the school year starts.”

Although course changes in the fall of the coming school year will be limited, Runeare stated that a reverse verification system will allow students to make changes up until April. The verifications will be sent in the form of an email with a copy of each student’s selected courses attached.

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As done in previous years, in nonrequired classes, students will be asked to select alternatives, so in the case they are not assigned their first-choice courses, they will still receive their second option.

Counselors were sent to freshman, sophomore, junior English classes this week to give presentations about course pathways and help students schedule meetings with their counselors. Counselor meetings have already begun and will continue until every student has selected their courses.

“We are trying to utilize several checkpoints to ensure that students are choosing more wisely and not just feeling they can shop around at the beginning of the year, then change courses,” Counselor Tamisha Wise said.

The administration hopes that the counseling meetings will provide students with a wider range of perspectives in balancing schoolwork, extracurricular activities, jobs and more.

Runeare explained that while counselor-student conferences are now required, students are still encouraged to communicate with teachers around them as resources.

“Our teachers know so much about all the courses in the department that they teach,” Runeare said. “Just talk to teachers that [you] trust and then use that information in the meeting with the counselor.”

However, many students were still unhappy with the changes made to the course selection process.

“[It’s] annoying that you can’t change your schedule once you’ve selected it,” sophomore Reid Taylor said.

Others expressed confusion about the timeline of these changes and how they will be affected.

“I think it’s somewhat confusing because everything’s delayed and it’s not super clear about what we’re supposed to do,” junior Tomas Smilak said.

“I didn’t know there were any changes,” junior Christopher Dormady said.

Some teachers shared frustrations due to a lack of communication between the staff and the administration.

“I just think that the timeline wasn’t communicated well; they communicated this to teachers a week ago,” English Department Coordinator Margaret Bennett said. “It would make sense to have that process in place in earlier months, and students, of course, should be part of planning that.”

This is a developing story.

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About the Contributors
Rebekah Park
Rebekah Park, Copy Editor
Matilda Haney Foulds
Matilda Haney Foulds, Staff Writer
Kathleen Zhu
Kathleen Zhu, Staff Writer
Oscar Johnson
Oscar Johnson, News Editor
Carissa Lai
Carissa Lai, Media Editor

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  • Claire | Feb 7, 2024 at 8:54 am

    Los Altos High school needs accountability and oversight!

    The school administration, staff and teachers make unnecessary policy changes without getting parents or students involved and those that have no impact other than reducing work for the staff and teachers so they can spend more time on make-work programs that have no accountability. Close to half-a-million from MVLA foundation goes to school counseling. If the counselors don’t want to do the work, why do we need these counselors? Students need to add/drop classes so they can explore what best suits their interest. This is not “shopping around”.

    College readiness index for Los Altos high is #46 in state and even lower for MVLA (#80) when neighbourhood schools Montevista (#12), Lynbrook (21) and Gunn High (#35) and Paly (#24). The school has a low bar of just getting students to graduate instead of focusing on educating students and helping them be successful in college.