By Sandy Mei ’16 and Jinyan Huang ‘16
Though it can be hectic when it comes to choosing classes, the spring semester is arriving and students are preparing for their schedule. In addition to required subject classes, students need to take elective classes when selecting classes for the new semester.
“Elective courses are a great way for students to learn,” said Joann Peters, the assistant principal of the Social Studies Department, “It is an enrichment. They are courses that you do not necessarily have to take, but they make you richer as a person.”
Electives, as opposed to mandatory classes, are optional subjects or courses that are chosen by the students. According to Jodi Millman, one of the many guidance counselors, students are required to have at least seven elective credits for a diploma in high school though this may vary depending on the program the student is in.
“Students are much better off taking more challenging elective courses such as science or math. Those are what colleges look at most,” Ms. Millman explained.
The school offers a variety of electives to cultivate interests in students. Available elective courses to choose for this spring include the Gilder Lehrman programs, law internship, social science research, discrete math, financial algebra, science research, robotics, medical issues, forensics, and anatomy.
The school also offers students elective courses that are targeted to students who are short on math credits or who are struggling in the subject. Some of these classes include discrete math and financial algebra.
“Our main focus is to make sure students get the credits that are needed in order for them to graduate,” said Patricia Lazo, the assistant principal of the Math Department, “so electives are mostly for students who are stronger in that particular subject.”
Many of these courses are aimed to prepare students for various majors. Electives do not only include classes in the building, but also include working outside of the school. There is a community service program originated by the Social Studies Department where students are provided with the opportunity to do volunteer work in public and private agencies.
Elective classes will not only allow students to graduate but will also benefit them in many aspects.
“Electives get you thinking and give you more experiences,” Jian Cheng Huang ’15 said. “They help you determine what you’re interested in and what major you want to focus on.”
Not only are students enjoying what they’re learning in their elective classes, the teachers are enjoying it just as much. As a matter of fact, most of the courses are created by the teachers themselves.
“Electives are classes that students choose to do as opposed to what they have to do,” said Ms. Peters.
Teachers will be going from class to class and talking to students about some of the available courses. Also, sign-up sheets will be given to students who are interested, but they are usually able to sign up for electives from their guidance counselor. For additional information on specific elective courses, students may speak to their subject teachers or the assistant principals of each department.