PAUSD Director clarifies recent changes to multivariable calculus, responds to community concerns

PAUSD Director clarifies recent changes to multivariable calculus, responds to community concerns

PAUSD partnered with Foothill Community College to offer in-person multivariable calculus classes on Paly’s campus after school during the 2023-24 school year in response to community concerns about the lack of student access to an MVC class. However, changes have been made to Foothill’s offering of MVC due to policy changes at the state level. 

Jeong Choe, PAUSD Director of Innovation and Agility, said guidelines from the California School Boards Association on concurrent and dual enrollment classes changed in December.

“The reason why MVC is a (single credit) concurrent enrollment, not a dual enrollment class, is that it’s a class taught by a college instructor, funded by colleges and not aligned to high school content standards,” Choe said.

According to a CSBA slideshow, dual enrollment is defined as a course aligned with high school curriculum and taught by a teacher with high school and college teaching credentials.

Choe said MVC at PAUSD has not undergone the approval process for dual enrollment. District Board Policy 6143 states that to classify as dual enrollment, a course must be approved by the PAUSD board, the University of California Office of the President and aligned with the community college curriculum. Currently, MVC meets none of these criteria.

“If a PAUSD teacher with both college and high school credentials was willing to teach this class, and once the course goes through the necessary approvals and alignments, then the course could be offered as a dual enrollment course during the school day,” Choe said.

Despite MVC being once again offered to students, Avery Wang, a PAUSD parent who was an adviser to the PAUSD math placement lawsuit, said the district removed dual enrollment from MVC without a clear reason.

“They started giving a whole series of different reasons, saying the rules (changing MVC from a dual enrollment course to a concurrent) changed and that the instructor had to be high school credentialed,” Wang said.

Wang also said he and other community members are concerned about when the class will be taught.

“They are offering it at a very inconvenient time,” Wang said. ” That means no extracurricular activities for anyone wanting to take this class.”

However, Choe said MVC has never been offered during school hours. Paly and Gunn used to have different schedules until 2018, resulting in Gunn students having to leave during school hours to attend the after school MVC class at Paly.

Choe also said teaching the class during the school day would not meet regulations outlined in Non-College and Career Access Pathways courses. According to California Community Colleges, CCAP classes are designed to expand enrollment opportunities for students who may not be college-bound or are underrepresented.

“Currently, PAUSD and Foothill have an agreement that allows (CCAP) classes to be closed just for high school students,” Choe said. “However, Non-CCAP courses such as MVC are open to all Foothill students. Foothill is not able to close this section on our campus.”

According to Choe, not being able to close sections on campus raises safety concerns including that since Foothill is a community college, people of all ages can attend. This would allow any California resident enrolled at Foothill to take the class at Paly during the day.

Choe also said community colleges have different requirements for teachers, only requiring them to have a master’s degree. This creates additional barriers to Foothill offering the class during the day at Paly.

“If anyone (with a master’s degree) can come in and teach at a high school, that defeats the whole credentialing process that (high school) teachers go through,” Choe said.

Choe said the district has been working on MVC offerings for some time. In an email obtained by The Campanile, Choe requested on-campus MVC classes on Feb. 25, 2023.

“We’ve been asking Foothill for a couple of additional (classes) on campus for the past few years,” Choe said. “This started long before the open letter from the community.”

Wang also said that the district is making decisions that negatively affect 7% of the senior class. 

“PAUSD is supposed to serve all students,” Wang said. “A lot of parents are spending a lot of time developing anxiety and frantically trying to figure out what to do next.”

But Choe said the district is working with Foothill to improve the educational experience for all students.

“We don’t have the capacity to meet all of the student needs and unique needs, but we (are) trying to leverage Foothill’s resources,” Choe said. “Now that Foothill understands our needs, they’re willing to group students in whatever section they want to be placed in.

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