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The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

FLEXploration highlights McLean’s course array

Course exploration opportunity hosted by school
Empty FLEXploration– Few students were in the German classroom for FLEXploration. Students in the picture were working on assignments or waiting for time to pass by.

On Jan. 29, McLean hosted FLEXploration, an opportunity for students to talk with teachers about their courses for next year during Highlander Time Flex, the school advisory period.

“I think that it’s good to help students know more about the classes they want to take next year, and how they are not going to [overwork] themselves trying to take 7 AP [classes] at once,” sophomore Urania Valentina Estévez Anza said.

Students used this chance to talk with teachers about any concerns or questions regarding their future classes. Iit gave students insight into who their next teachers will be and helped them decide whether they should take a certain course if they don’t need it to graduate, or if it doesn’t help them prepare for their desired majors. Students even had the opportunity to visit their future classes and get used to their new learning environments.

“I went to the dual enrollment English class and it was [constructive] because priorly, I was stuck between what English classes I wanted to take [next year],” sophomore Dannike Vasquéz said.

Nonetheless, FLEXploration did raise some issues among students. For instance, students have access to an online catalog every year with each course that McLean offers, however, some teachers doubt that students are carefully reading it.

“I’ve had students wander into my class and say, ‘wait, we teach German in the school,’” German teacher Karen Wolpert said. “[Students] don’t even know about plenty of electives [that are available].”

Wolpert believes that all students should be given a pie ce of paper containing all the available courses, ensuring that students are aware of their class options, while also avoiding any misleading information regarding course selection.

“In past years, we’ve done [course exploration] during the school day, and [students] had to be in a room for ten minutes,” Wolpert said.

In past years, students were required to spend ten minutes in different classes so that they would indulge in various courses. This method ensured students would ask and learn about new classes, instead of students just roaming down the hallways.

“As a teacher who teaches an elective, I found that incredibly helpful,” Wolpert said. “I’d always get new students who poke their head into my room for a few minutes and meet me.”

FLEXploration makes hallways crowded with students trying to go to various classes in a few minutes.

“You can only go to one class at a time,” Vasquéz said. “You’ve got to choose what is the most important [course that you would] like to check out.”

On the other hand, some students did not engage in this new activity, as many students are used to studying for upcoming tests or doing homework during Highlander Time Flex. Additionally, this activity was initially intended to be on Jan. 16, so that students could explore their options before choosing their classes for the upcoming year. Nevertheless, due to snow days, the event was pushed back.

“I think [FLEXploration could have been done] earlier in the year [such as] in December, because we always do it right before registration, and half of the time it’s canceled,” Wolpert said. “[Moreover,] the similar event McLean held for [incoming freshmen] was canceled twice because of snow this year, and now, we’re not holding it.”

Incoming freshmen will enter McLean this fall with no precise idea of their courses or teachers, which could cause various misleading issues for students as they wouldn’t know the precise information regarding their courses and teachers.

“If the issues of FLEXploration would be fixed, I think that it would make it a lot more useful for students and teachers,” Estévez said. “It is [an activity] that helps students [question their upcoming] classes and to get an insight of what they look like, and it helps teachers get more students to take their classes.”

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