Cancelled classes complicate student scheduling

Thirty-two classes cancelled for 2019-2020 due to low enrollment

As the end of the school year approaches, many classes that students at NT had already signed up for have been dropped or cancelled.

In total, 32 classes that were initially listed in the program of studies are no longer being offered for the 2019-2020 school year.

Many of these courses haven’t run in a long time or only end up running every few years, including the Freshmen Intro to Journalism Class, Global Voices, Topics in International Relations, and Consumer Math. But others like Early Bird AP Physics and Yoga and Self Defense are a little more surprising for students.

Junior Lulu McShane said, “I was planning on taking Early Bird AP Physics, but I was told not enough people signed up for the class. It would have allowed me to take an extra class and still have a lunch period.”

As a result of its cancellation, McShane consulted with her adviser to help fit regular AP physics into her schedule while having enough room to take all the classes she wanted to.

“[My advisor and I] decided to move my physical education class to an Early Bird class.” Expressing gratitude to be able to fit one of her favorite classes in for next year, McShane added, “We are very lucky at New Trier to be able to take such a variety of classes and to learn about stuff you are truly passionate about.”

The main reason why classes are usually canceled is because not enough students sign up.

According to Assistant Principal for Administrative Services Michael Lee, “As an administration, we have to be good stewards of the resources given to us by the Board of Education and by the community. If we run a class of five students, that means one full-time teacher would be teaching a small class, and obviously that’s a great scenario, but that means if we did that for every class that was in that situation [of not having enough students], we’d end up hiring 20 more teachers. That’s when in terms of being good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars and our resources we just simply can’t be doing that.”

Junior Ellie McGregor had also signed up for the cancelled Early Bird AP Physics class. And like most students who signed up for dropped classes, she had to make sacrifices to her schedule in order to make it work.

“I switched my schedule and now I’m taking Early Bird AP Biology,” she said.

Science Department Chair Jason English confirmed that the cause of cancellation for these classes was low enrollment. “Both of these were closed due to insufficient enrollment in the course and section. [However], two sections of AP Physics 1&2 remain open for the 2019-2020 school year,” said English.

Four of the 32 classes cancelled were early bird classes, including the aforementioned physics class, KW Team Block, and KW Leaders.

This conflict between students’ ambitions for the optimally maximized schedule and the realities of a scheduling system that can’t fulfill everyone’s desires isn’t uncommon or new.

Junior Chloe Moslener signed up for AP European History last year before it was cancelled and she instead had to take AP Government and Politics.

“While I ended up enjoying [AP Government and Politics] a lot, I was really looking forward to taking AP European History. This year I enrolled again, and I’m hoping it doesn’t get cancelled again, but it most likely will be due to many of my peers signing up for AP Government and Politics because it fulfills the civics requirement while AP European History does not.”

So far the AP Euro Class isn’t included in to the list of cancelled classes, so it should be running next year.

About 22 percent of the classes cancelled were in the Applied Arts category, which includes classes like Human Growth and Child Development, Intro to Design Technology, and Fashion Construction.

Lee explained the process of notifying a student about a cancelled course, “A staff member from my office will notify the adviser to tell their students in the advisery that the classes they registered for got cancelled. The adviser would then share the recommended courses the Department Chair chooses.”

Since cancelled courses have ignited frustration among students, advisers try their hardest to compensate for cancelled courses and re-arrange schedules to get the necessary graduation requirements in.

While certain courses have been cancelled for the upcoming school year, it doesn’t always mean they are gone forever. Most of the time, it just has to do with student interest and if enough students register for a course in that given year.