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The Campanile

Classes should be more available

Students forced to choose between subjects of interest, report cramming for classes over the summer
Adam Fong

Summers used to be carefree. I have golden memories of attending summer camps, laughing entire mornings away with friends, staying up late at sleepovers and having weeks on end with nothing but relaxation on my mind.

But when I look back at this summer, it was nothing like it was a couple years ago.

This summer, I dove into an off-campus course and experienced countless hours of busy work, and I’m not the only one.

Other students have told me about their massive workloads over the summer: taking summer courses, counseling for summer camps and even taking internships.

Many high school students are overworked during the summer, a huge shift from the easygoing summers in middle school.

The root cause of this problem is students can’t take all of the classes they want to take during the school year.

For example, I tried to squeeze AP Spanish Language and Culture into my schedule this year, but I couldn’t because I was already taking seven other classes.

Along with many other students, senior David Tomz said he had to choose between two passions in his freshman year.

“I had to choose between music and visual art pathways,” Tomz said. “I chose to switch to art, so I lost out (on band).There are a lot of other fun classes that seem really interesting that I don’t take just because I feel like I need to take these core classes.”

Sophomore Marcello Attardi said he had a similar experience, and had to choose one class over another because of graduation requirements mandated by California and PAUSD.

“I’ve always wanted to take theater, but I can’t fit that into my schedule because I have so many other (classes),” Attardi said.

Senior Johann Garcia said he had to take Economics over the summer because of graduation requirements.

Though UCs only require three years of history classes, PAUSD requires four including a semester of Economics.

“I knew I would want five classes in senior year, but if (Economics) wasn’t a requirement, I probably wouldn’t have taken it,” Garcia said.

However, this problem isn’t limited to the number of classes students can take.

Another scheduling problem that creates stressful summers is that many popular classes are often full.

Junior Sophia Dong said many students like her are prevented from taking classes they want year after year.

“I’ve been really wanting to take Advanced Placement Computer Science A, but obviously there are a lot of people who were taking that,” Dong said.

Another problem that encourages summer stress is the district placing firm restrictions on laning up in a class, forcing students to often suffer through classes they are overqualified for.

Attardi, who said he is fluent in French, tried to take AP French last year, but was shot down by restrictions.

“They wouldn’t let me move up because freshmen aren’t allowed to take AP French,” Attardi said.

This causes students to overwork themselves over the summer so that they can take challenging classes.

But the seven-class schedule, problems with full classes and heavy graduation requirements won’t just go away. Thankfully, there are solutions to this problem.

First, Paly needs to hire more teachers. Most students meticulously plan their high school course load. However, when course schedules come out, many of these students’ plans are shattered.

Additionally, a shortage of teachers has led to some popular classes, such as AP CSA, being full, meaning that no more students can transfer into the class.

If Paly hired more teachers — though it could be a difficult and expensive task — more students would be able to take the classes that they need to take.

Also, PAUSD should loosen its restrictions on laning up.

For example, freshmen fluent in French should be allowed to take AP French.

Students that aren’t learning anything in math class should be allowed to skip a year.

Another option could be to let students take an eighth Paly course after school or during the weekend, giving us the freedom to follow our passions instead of being confined to our required classes.

Though 0 period Physical Education sounds like it allows students to take an extra class, the district does not allow students to take that eighth class.

Finally, PAUSD and the State need to loosen graduation requirements.

Some classes, such as Living Skills, take up valuable class slots.

Students face many obstacles that prevent us from following our passions including the seven class limit, full classes and the problems with lane changes.

But there are solutions.

By loosening graduation requirements and making lane changes easier, PAUSD could provide us with more opportunities instead of taking them away.

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Gavin Lin
Gavin Lin, Assistant Managing Editor
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