Teachers, students drive course catalog

Fluctuations due to involvement highs, lows




Roseville High School will not be able to participate in Future Business Leaders of America competitions next year. This is due to a new rule change implemented by the California Department of Education and FBLA that requires members of the club to participate in a school business program in order to be eligible for competition. However, since former business teacher Ron Volk’s retirement last year, RHS has not offered a business program on its campus.

In the last decade, the discontinuation of the business department is just one of many fluctuations of student opportunity at RHS. This flow of programs, classes and extracurriculars can historically be attributed to the flow of involved students and teachers.

A collaborative effort involving input from administrators, counselors and subject departments determines the courses available on RHS’ course catalog. It also takes into consideration student and staff opinion and other concerns regarding staffing or facility size.

Assistant principal Jason Wilson believes the ability to find a teacher who can move the existing program in a positive direction determines whether or not the school may continue offering the course.

“Teachers are really the ones that drive that progress,” Wilson said. “They have that vision; they are invested in it. Kids are following them and when that goes [away] it’s sometimes hard for another teacher to duplicate that.”

FBLA co-adviser Kelly Capell hopes the club will be granted leeway to continue to compete, and that both it and a business program will be available to students in the future.

Having both credentials and interest in business, math teacher Doug Ash offered to teach the course. As he approached administrators about his desire to assume the vacant position, his proposal was declined.

According to RHS principal David Byrd, the development of new, specialized courses of study related to business, such as the culinary, engineering and biomedical programs, factored into the decision to allow a business program hiatus.

“We thought if we allow [business] to go away it may allow these other programs to flourish because it’ll drive some kids in that direction,” Byrd said. “Now if we can get those other programs to grow a little bit, there may be a need for a business component within them or a business class later on.”

Other programs have been discontinued after the departure of their head teachers. According Wilson, there are cases, as seen in a previously offered course called Geometry and Construction, where they could not find a replacement for the program.

Teachers may propose new courses to their departments and administrators. They may need to obtain district approval in order to implement the program.

English teacher Jamie Handling obtained approval for Creative Writing after she began teaching the class under the name English Magazine the year before. Handling rewrote the course to match A-G guidelines and focused on marketing to students to make it a possibility.

“Realistically when you teach a course that you’re trying to build into a program you really have to sell it,” Handling said. “I want kids to come out of my class saying I really learned something and I had a lot of fun doing it – and that’s the only way to build a program.”

The district limits the number of courses RHS can teach based on student enrollment. For this upcoming year, RHS can offer a total of 443 classes.

While department heads will work with their teachers to determine their ideal course schedule, student sign ups for course registration will ultimately determine the courses available. Courses that do not receive enough sign ups will not be offered, limiting the flexibility of changing course decisions after the schedule is formulated.

Assistant principal Stephanie Malia will design the master schedule for the 2018-19 school year. She believes the course schedule aims to prioritize student interest, but is affected by other concerns.

“The whole theory behind the master schedule is that you build a schedule for students but the reality is sometimes that doesn’t happen,” Malia said. “It’s a lot of little things.”

By evolving the course schedule along with changing students and staff, Byrd feels they secure a more modern and relevant catalog.