Citing Budget and Scheduling, District Modifies Columbia HS School Day

by The Village Green
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In response to numerous questions from parents and students about Columbia High School’s scheduling process for 2016-17, Superintendent Dr. John Ramos emailed the following letter to the CHS community Wednesday evening.

See the full email about CHS scheduling from Director of Guidance Jennifer Giordano below Dr. Ramos’ letter.

Dear CHS Families:

We have received some questions about the plans for next year’s schedule at the high school.

By way of clarification, the high school selection process for the 2016-2017 school year, which is now underway, is based upon:

Graduation requirements

Just as in the past, students are selecting courses based on what they are required to take, and what they would like to take, consistent with their interests and passions. CHS’s standard practice of scheduling students for 7 courses gives students 35 credits per year, for a total of 140 credits during their CHS career, to ensure they not only meet but surpass the state graduation requirement of 120 credits. This basic approach has not changed.

The school district is presently working to reconcile various concerns that have been brought to our attention, including a desire on the part of a significant segment of the community to start the school day later.

One of the solutions under consideration is for the district to shift from the current two-session day, with a total of 9 periods, to a one-session 8 period day. One of the benefits of this potential change is that it would allow us to create academic supports, enhanced counseling, and other small group learning laboratories to support student needs.

As for the budget, and the proposed reduction of staff at the high school, this year, as in prior years, some course sections are under-enrolled. We continue to believe that students will be able to take a full complement of courses and not be adversely impacted through scheduling more efficiently. For example, not all electives may run in every semester, but they would still be available for interested students to take during their CHS career. Grade level class sessions and individual counselor meetings throughout the month of March, as well as any email and phone call questions, are all important points of contact for you and your student throughout the course selection process.

The incoming freshman class will be scheduled for 7 classes plus a lunch period. While we strongly encourage upper classmen to take 7 classes and a lunch period as well, we are of course committed to ensure that upper classmen are able to meet their graduation requirements and to pursue their personal passions through electives.


John J. Ramos, Sr. Ed


It’s that time of year again!  Next week we will begin inviting students to make their (elective) course requests for the coming school year.  This is an exciting time and our commitment, as a Guidance Department, is to support students and their families with information and open communication about their choices.  We are also committed to clarifying any misconceptions about scheduling at CHS and implementing a process that is simple. We will begin the month-long process by hosting individual class meetings throughout the week of March 7th.  Current 9th graders will meet on March 8th during period 3.  10th graders will meet on March 9th during period 4, and 11th graders will meet on March 10th during period 8.  Members of the Guidance Department will present grade-specific information at each assembly program.  Student will begin the course selection process on March 14th, when current 9th graders visit with counselors to review their projected placements and make elective selections.

When students come to the Guidance Office for the course selection process, each will meet with an individual counselor to review the projected course placements for the coming school year.

It is our recommendation that students and families review their placements prior to the course request process by visiting Power School and clicking on course requests in the left-side menu.

Projected placements will be available for viewing in Power School on Friday, March  11th.

This list will provide information about projected courses and levels.  All criteria for projected placements by department is grounded in SOMSD/BOE Regulation R2314.

Upon review of your child’s projected placements, if you have any questions, please reach out directly to your child’s teacher s or the department supervisor(s) for advice, clarification and/or discussion. Supervisors’ information can be easily found at, under the “Departments” tab. Based upon BOE Policy 5750: Access & Equity, students and parents may choose to explore coursework at a different level than that which was recommended.  Should you wish to exercise your choice to change your child’s projected level placement for the 2016-17 school year, please download and complete the A & E Selection Form on the CHS Guidance webpage and return it to your child’s guidance counselor or the appropriate supervisor by April 8, 2016We encourage and support the right to exercise your choice, and we will all work together to ensure that your child is prepared and accurately informed about his/her course of study.  To ensure that all stakeholders are best able to support students’ academic growth and development, your signature is required to endorse any placement changes, so please return the attached form no later than April 8th.

With that being said, here are a few guidelines to help students best prepare for the weeks ahead.

  • Visit the CHS Guidance homepage ( and click on the Course Offering Guide tab for a complete list of courses planned for the 2016-17 school year.
  • Print out & complete the Planning Worksheet on page 49 of the Course Offering Guide.  This template will provide perspective to students about their course selections for next year. Students are encouraged to bring the planning worksheet with them when meeting with staff to make their elective selections.
  • Student will be scheduled for no more than 35, 36, or 37 credits (depending on their science-lab course).  This will include ELA, Math, SS, Science and PE/Health.  Additional elective choices may come from the World Language, Media, Fine & Performing Arts, and Career & Technical Arts departments.  Students should plan on taking 7 classes.
  • Students should listen carefully to the morning announcements for Advanced Placement and Recommendation-Only class lists locations being posted by department.
    • Students who have been recommended into these courses will also see them present in their course requests when they sit with a guidance counselor.
  • Students may schedule for (3) Advanced Placement courses.  Any student who wishes to take more than (3) AP courses must meet with the content area supervisor for each additional course, as well as the Director of Guidance. These meetings are designed to discuss student academic interest, engagement, health and workload considerations.

You and your child(ren) are sure to have questions as the scheduling process unfolds and our aim is to circulate information and directions about it as soon as it becomes available.  Remember…teachers and counselors are the very best and most readily available resources for students, so as questions emerge please encourage your children to speak with them. We are all here to help!

Thank you for your attention to this important communication.  We look forward to seeing more of your child(ren) throughout the coming weeks.

Dr. Jennifer L. Giordano

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