CHS Cuts Elective Courses


Photo by Michael Fox

The fate of Erewhon, the literary magazine, is unknown after the class was cut for next school year.

By Michael Fox and Jonathan Greenzaid

Each school year both the county’s and each individual high school’s curriculum will change as a result of fluctuations in registration for certain courses. This year, specifically at CHS, several courses will be cut for the 2016-17 school year.

Courses to be cut next year include African American History, History of the Middle East, Comparative Religions, Dance as Fine Art, Real World Writing and Literature Magazine. Teachers and students have been notified if their classes will be cut so they can adjust their schedules.

“I’m surprised we didn’t get one section back, but as a person who understands how the school system runs, you can’t have a teacher have 12 students in one section and 34 in another section,” Art resource teacher Brendan Roddy said.

According to Social Studies Department resource teacher Rodney Van Tassell, African American History, History of the Middle East and Comparative Religions were all courses that were pitched to the students and staff this year for the upcoming school year, but could not get enough registered students to be able to run the course.

Literary Magazine is an English class that has developed over the last two years with students who have been appointed to staff positions. However, next year, the class will shut down due to low registration numbers.

“I think this class does good things for students and it’s a bummer that it is being cut,” senior and Lit Mag section editor Jake Derby said.

According to Lit Mag Adviser Christin Nixon, this happened two years ago when the course was cut due to the number of students who signed up.

According to Benz, the reasoning behind cutting these classes is not budget related, rather, it is based on how many students sign up to take the course. With the roughly 2,100 students at CHS, many courses are dropped each year, while others are experimented with.

“As soon as all of our students register for next year, including the students from the middle schools, everything is computer generated,” Benz said.

Once the students have registered for their classes for the upcoming year, classes are cut based on low registration numbers.

According to Benz, 30 students in a classroom would be ideal for each course; however, if there are circumstances where some courses can only put less than 20 kids in a room, then it’s difficult to offer the course for the next school year.

“If there have been courses in the past that have been small for two years, we may have to cut those because it shows us that students aren’t interested in them,” Benz said. “But from that, after we cut those courses out, we get staffing and look at all the numbers.”

In the next wave of the process, the school will look at how many teachers they have and how to distribute them among the general education and special education classes. Specific courses that are required for students to graduate, known as core classes, are prioritized.

In some cases, if a class has a medium size, ranging from 22-30 students total, the school may allow it to run for another year to see if student interest will increase or decrease. If the number drops, then the course may be cut.

The school must also ensure there will be enough core classes where students will be able to move from an AP to an honors class, or an honors to a regular class if it is too hard for them. This also needs to be done because the number of students enrolling at CHS and leaving CHS will change over the summer.

“The biggest objective is to try to get kids the courses that they want,” Benz said.