A Scheduling Puzzle



Rearranging schedules is a puzzle in itself (Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credits to Hans).

Schedules are a powerful thing. They have the ability to make or break the year for a student. There is a lot of hope and anticipation for students leading up to schedule pick up, which can either be fulfilled or immediately shot down once the schedule is received.  

After receiving his schedule, junior, Carson Paris discovered many problems with his schedule. As a junior, students are allowed to have two free college classes. Paris requested to have two per semester, and on his schedule he had three for the first semester and only one for the second semester, which meant dropping a class, a no go for most students. Not only were his college classes in disarray, but he also did not have a college seminar, a requirement for anyone at Brashier taking college classes.

“Once I got my schedule, I felt that I had a lot more things to worry about, due to the time crunch,” said Paris.

Schedule pick up is slated for the day before school starts, which is exactly one week before Greenville Technical College classes begin. This only allows students one week to resolve any problems found in their schedule. In order to have an efficient system of schedule corrections during that week, students report to their enrichment first thing in the morning, where they can fill out a pink form requesting changes.

Students fill out this form in order to receive a schedule change. No changes can be made unless the student fills out this form and the problems fall under these reasons listed (Photo courtesy of Mallory Smith).

“During the summer, we put in a request based on what students request. Then we decide based on that, how many sections of something is created, and then the computer works on when to place them. And, there we are. Then we run y’all through the same thing and it all goes together,” said freshman and sophomore guidance counselor Barbara Dansby.

This process works well for underclassmen, who are not yet taking college classes, but upperclassmen are dealt the short straw. Greenville Technical College offers a huge selection of classes at the Brashier Campus alone, because of this, scheduling classes can be very difficult.

“It’s [college classes] a pretty big part of it because their classes are when they are and we can’t change it. Even if we had a bunch of students who needed a class at a certain time, we can’t make a class pop up. We just have to take what they give us and work around it,” said Dansby.

Because Brashier is forced to work around the college, many students may not get the classes they want based on timing and availability, especially with the time crunch of a schedule change.

“It’s really a big puzzle. It’s just based on class availability, where they fall, what the student wants, and numbers. It takes a lot of time. There are some students where everything falls into place and others where it doesn’t. There are a lot of factors,” said junior and senior guidance counselor Natasha Greene.

Juniors Andrew Wiles and Riya Patel were adamant that the process would be better if students picked up their schedules one or two weeks before school started. This was an idea shared by most of the student body. Their reasoning is that there would be more time to fix any problems, an idea that comes from other schools who get their schedules up to a month before school starts. Schools, such as Woodmont and Hillcrest, may have anywhere between one and two thousand students, but they don’t have the struggle of working around college classes. In addition to this, they have the advantage of having more high school electives available.

“They wanted schedules sooner? That could actually be a possibility and that is actually what we are looking for. One of the main reasons schools like Woodmont get theirs so much sooner is not having to deal with the college,” said Greene.

This is the form students fill out in the spring. It lists all the available high school classes students can sign up for. There is a separate sheet for college classes (Photo courtesy of Mallory Smith).

Since this is Dansby and Greene’s second year as counselors here at Brashier, they agree that this is a process that will change and grow. Finding solutions to problems led them to find new ways to improve the system.

“My plans have changed. I am actually in the process of trying to figure out a plan as far as how it is going to work next year. I know what the problems are this year that caused that domino effect, so there will be tweaks,” said Greene

By actively making changes and decisions to fix the process, it shows the counselors care about not only making their job easier, but about the students.

“Make sure that it doesn’t sound like I’m bashing Mrs. Greene. She has a hard job and she worked really hard to get everything fixed,” said Paris.

Paris was one of many who wanted to be sure that this article would express respect for our counselors. Every person who  was interviewed assured me that even though their schedule had issues, Mrs. Greene and Ms. Dansby were very helpful in getting everything taken care of.

“Mrs. Greene was able to fix everything she could. Some things I had to deal with in order to take the classes I wanted, but it all worked out,” said junior Riya Patel.

For some students this year started out rough, trying to make everything fit, but most would agree that everything seems to work out, even if it was not what they originally had in mind.

“Taking college classes made it a lot harder, but the whole struggle was worth it,” said junior Devki Bhatt.