Seniors Say Goodbye to Short Schedules

By Christopher Sprycha

Most high school students cannot wait for their senior year, which includes fewer classes, excitement for college, less stress, and a shorter class schedule. However, as of 2013, this short schedule will be a thing of the past.

The New York City Department of Education has implemented a minimum hour policy. It states that the minimum amount of time a student in grades 7-12 can be in school is 5.5 hours, totaling 27.5 hours a week excluding lunch. This translates into a minimum of seven periods for Tech students. In response to this new policy, Tech plans to offer elective courses for its students, such as AP Psychology.

Psychology is the study of human mind and behavior. It explains how and why we act, think, and feel a certain way. AP Psychology, an Advanced Placement course offered by the College Board, will go further in depth than a normal psychology class. It will not only teach about the human mind and its behavior, but it will also offer insight into the history of psychology.

Why AP Psychology? Paul Hoftyzer, Assistant Principal and Chief Academic Officer and head of programming, says, “For budget and organization [students] needed to all enroll in the same subject and after polling students the most popular choice was AP Psychology.” Hoftyzer also said that another physical education class or a similar class was not an option for a possible elective course.

Tech is part of I-Learn, a program that allows students to take classes not offered by their school. Seniors who need more classes to lengthen their day will take two of these I-Learn classes with AP Pysch being one of them.

A minimum hour requirement was not always necessary for high school students. The majority of Tech students used to have full-day schedules, from periods 1-8 or 2-9. However, when middle schools began offering accelerated classes such as Living Environment and Integrated Algebra, many students entered Tech with high school credits and met their graduation requirements too early.

“This means more students need to enroll in more elective courses. Even if they do not particularly want to,” says Hoftyzer.

Regardless of underlying reasons, many students oppose the policy, as it adds extra classes to their school day.

Michelle Huang ’16 said, “It’s not fair, why should I take courses I do not want to take?”

However, there are some people who see the policy’s positive side. Hoftyzer said, “I understand the rationale for new policy, which I believe is to increase the time for different learning opportunities to be offered to more students around the city.”

Ross Grosshart, a Digital Electronics teacher, said, “Tech would keep you in here for twelve hours a day if they could… Coming to Brooklyn Tech means you will be challenged academically. If you didn’t want to be challenged, you shouldn’t have come here.”

The policy does have some merit. A heavier course load will allow students to fulfill the requirements for an Advanced Regent’s diploma and a Brooklyn Tech diploma, and more elective courses may impress colleges. Still, the policy is an unwelcome surprise for many seniors who planned on a much lighter course load this year.

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