Schedule change process turns electronic

Frankie Clarke

As my days of summer vacation came to an end in July, my summer assignments became a game of procrastination, and the prospect of returning to school got scarier with each passing day. Rumors of schedule releases began to circulate, and on Aug. 1, a frenzy broke out.

Stories of blank class periods and electives assigned at random surfaced. My own schedule was missing a few key classes, and with only one day left of summer left, I took to my email.

This year was the first time the counselors implemented the online schedule change request system. Students are required to visit the Grady website, fill out the application form to address  their schedule problems, and then submit the form to the website.

After a certain amount of time, you will receive an email outlining your options or your new schedule. The whole process seems efficient on paper, but in reality there are many factors that contribute to the on-going slew of emails. I was missing one class for my schedule, and there was one core class I wasn’t signed up to take because I was already taking it online. I filled out the schedule request form and refreshed my email frequently.

I got a response within a few hours with different suggestions regarding the future of my senior year. Emails were going back and forth so quickly that it almost seemed like the counselors and I were becoming pen pals. I always received a reply within a day or two of my request, but whenever something would get resolved, another problem arose.

My frustrations didn’t stem from the lack of action that occurred but instead by the notion that my schedule could be fixed in five minutes or less in a face-to-face counseling session. Rather than filling out numerous request forms and emailing counselors daily, my schedule could be fixed with one session.

Recognizing that I am not the only person at Grady who has a jumbled schedule, these little five minute meetings would vary from person to person and take a toll on the counselors.  If counselors dealt with students’ scheduling issues face-to-face instead of sitting on the computer answering emails all day, however, these problems could be solved in a more timely manner, and the workload of the counselors would decrease  after a week or two.

This new process also poses problems when students try to switch into classes long after teachers have begun the curriculum. When a student switches into a new math class, they immediately have to pick up the pace to try and catch up. Whether the student transfers into Yoga or AP Calculus, the inconvenient timing can make all the difference.

Counselors have a student’s year at their finger-tips. With all the work they do for us, being respectful of their workload is the least we could do. While the problem is not the counselors, but the process, we can only hope that next year they see the benefit of face-to-face interaction. With the beginning of my school year feeling like I’ve been put on hold with customer service, it looks like I’ll just have to wait for the cheesy tune to end.