Classes Cut: Students and Teachers Are Angry


A very confusing schedule contributed by a senior girl, who was missing one of her classes.

Philip Randazzo, Staff Writer

With the continuously changing schedule this school year, it was impossible for administrators to accommodate every student’s request to enroll in their favorite classes. Although some students (and teachers) had been waiting all summer to complete these desired courses, the classes were cut last minute.

Science teacher Joanne Jarzobski was supposed to teach two semester classes this year, one studying sharks and another studying whales. Although students were interested, BHS was unable to get the cohorts to work out. Instead of teaching these semester classes, she is teaching biology.

Jarzobski was not notified by administration that these classes were being removed until the school year had already started, raising her frustration. She dedicated a portion of her summer vacation towards preparing for the semester classes, ensuring that it would be a pleasant virtual experience for her students. When the semester classes were scratched, however, she felt her time had been “wasted.”

“It felt disrespectful that nobody [from administration] told me ahead of time and I had to hear it from my students,” Jarzobski said. 

The semester classes that were cut were meant to be a successor for marine biology, where students could expand their knowledge in the field. 

“These semester classes were designed to feature guest speakers, visit a shark center in Chatham, and go on a whale watch and apply data techniques they learned throughout the year,” Jarzboski said. It would have been her third year teaching this curriculum. 

One senior had been planning to take Jarzobski’s semester classes for a couple years, but she was unable to fit it into her class schedule last year. Anticipating she would have the opportunity to complete the courses this year, she patiently waited for her senior year, only to find the classes were cut. Upon discovering this information, Jarzobski felt “disappointed and heartbroken.”

Jarzobski’s student was not the only senior who is leaving high school without taking their favorite electives. Senior Ashlee Sarkinen, who is in Cohort D, is limited to four classes this year due to scheduling conflicts. 

“The classes that were cut from my schedule were fashion design, chorus, and creative writing,” Sarkinen said. She still has three empty holes in her schedule, which have now been replaced by study halls.

Junior Jennifer Ramos has been taking French since the eighth grade, traveling to Quebec and participating in the French Honors Society. This year, however, her French journey was put at pause when both AP French and French IV were cut. With no other level available to complete, Ramos must now wait until next year to proceed if those courses are reintroduced to the schedule.

According to World Language Department Head, Grace Lytle, there is an answer to classes being cut: “decisions were made based on available options to students.” In order to provide the best possible options for all students, Lytle faced several dilemmas, including closing classes that had smaller numbers. Because AP students typically require less teacher assistance, Lytle decided to cut AP French this year, but provided Edgenuity as an learning outlet to still earn an AP French credit. Edgenuity is an online learning portal where BHS students can complete the courses that were dropped, still being able to obtain the credit. 

Although the class is available online, Ramos said, “learning a language is not easy, and learning it online would have been very difficult.” With Edgenuity not providing students with face-to-face interaction, Ramos said going in the online direction would have been a task too challenging to pursue. In fact, the daily interactions within the French classroom was Ramos’s favorite part. 

“My favorite part of taking French all these years was the connections I made. I’ve always had the most fun in French… I was learning French along the years without even realizing it,” Ramos said.

 For now she is watching French movies and studying vocabulary as often as she can. However, her senior friends will never be able to experience life inside the French classroom at BHS ever again. 

 “AP French was the class that some seniors have been looking forward to since eighth grade. I really don’t understand out of all the levels, why AP French and French IV were cut. I wish we got a formal explanation,” Ramos said.

According to Lytle, “AP French students generally are mature, self-starters and independent workers who are more likely to do well in online courses than their younger counterparts.” By not offering AP French this year, it allowed its teacher, Fadner Pierre, to introduce an additional first year class. 

As far as the French Honor Society is concerned, any student members who were in good standing at the end of last year will continue to be members of the French Honor Society. This is a one-year exemption from the Society’s requirement of being enrolled in a class to remain an active member.

Although cutting classes this year was disheartening for students and teachers alike, it was an inevitable choice that had to be made due to the change in schedule format and trying to balance the number of students in classes and cohorts. 

“Cutting any classes that have taken hours to build and grow is not what any educator wants to do. These were difficult and painful choices,” Lytle said.