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SHS Scheduling Process Under Fire

When it comes to "arena" scheduling, some Staples High School students like junior Abby Fagan have had positive experiences while others like junior Steven Smith have not.

"It can either be really good, or really bad for you," said Abby, 15. "If you get an early arena time, you can come out with the best schedule. But if you get a bad time, you won't end up with what you wanted. Every year when I go, I see people crying."

In arena scheduling, students manually register for classes at an assigned time, Staples Principal John Dodig said.

Unlike Abby, Steven said he has never gotten a good arena time.

"I always have to go to guidance and move my schedule around," said Steven, 17. "It's a pain: I hate it."

Before the arena process starts, a computer-generated schedule is made for every student. These schedules, Dodig said, have an 80 percent success rate in matching students to their desired classes. The other 20 percent of students usually have one conflict to resolve.

But under the arena concept, these schedules are tossed to allow students the chance to not only register for the classes they want, but also the teachers and class periods they want. It might sound perfect, but Dodig said it isn't.

"At the end of the arena process, only 48.17 percent of students get what they wanted. So instead of dealing with only 20 percent of students that have a scheduling conflict, the guidance counselors have to deal with 51.83 percent of the student population," Dodig said.

This is why Dodig, Assistant Principal James Farnen and Elaine Schwartz, director of guidance, spoke against arena scheduling and for computerized scheduling at the school board meeting Monday. No action was taken.

Though Abby and Steven said computerized scheduling would probably reduce stress, they're hoping arena scheduling sticks around another year, because as juniors, they go first.

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