Pros Of Seven Classes

Stephanie Stiles

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Year number two of having seven classes unfolds and the school has firmly settled into its opinions about the switch. While my amount of homework is my formally declared villain adversary, I must admit that I like the extra class.

An added class was a step in the right direction if BHS wishes to compete with our neighboring schools. Nauset Regional High School takes seven classes; Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School takes eight; and Sturgis Charter Public School takes between seven and nine classes.

Our enrollment at the school has gradually been decreasing, which is surprising because our number of enrolled English Learning Students has increased dramatically in recent years, all according to the 2019 fiscal budget. One would naturally presume that enrollment would be up due to this influx. A simple math problem would suggest that even more students are deciding not to attend BHS and defer to school choice than those who are entering.

It would be ill-advised for me to generalize that students leave Barnstable because of the number of classes they take, but creating a course-load that is more comparable to other schools would at least lessen the differences between the schools, and make more of an argument for students to choose Barnstable.

One of the most appealing parts of BHS is the extensive number of offered courses. The seventh class allows students to try out a class they wouldn’t normally gravitate towards and they have more freedom to individualize their high school experience.  There is the worry that the added class encourages top students to take even more AP courses, but ultimately, that is a student’s decision. If this is a concern, guidance counselors should be more suggestive about what are the best options for them.

I used the seventh class to take classes I never could have taken before the switch. I took Creative Writing as a Junior—unconventional but a good time—and now I am a Teacher’s Assistant for AP Lang.

While I focused on a proliferation of English classes, many students now take funky science classes beyond the usual Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, such as Marine Biology, Forensics, and Pathology. It is also easier for students to obtain their art credit without surrendering an AP or desired class.

The seventh class is a contentious issue, but we are still in the transition period. Obviously last year was the worst because it was the first year and teachers didn’t know how to adjust their classes, which left students swimming in homework.

This year, classes are instituting changes to their curriculum to better suit the allotted time, but mostly they are experimental adjustments to gauge just how much the students can take and just how much is possible to teach.

Next year I have no doubt that the school will be even more comfortable with the seventh class since teachers will have had enough experience with the schedule to understand how to best teach their classes in less time. Then, I’m sure AP classes won’t be hurting as much as they are now.