CACC contemplates schedule change


Humera Lodhi

The past few years have been ones of change for Columbia Public Schools. With the creation of Battle, a third high school, as well as the implementation of Bruin Block at Rock Bridge High School, students have adjusted to many new policies and procedures within high school.
One of the unintended problems that arose from these changes, director of the Columbia Area Career Center Randy Gooch said, is scheduling conflicts with the Career Center.
“Over the last year, things really changed for Columbia Public Schools because we added Battle,” Gooch said. “For the first time, instead of managing two high schools and a Career Center schedule, now we have a third. And this year with the new Rock Bridge schedule, we’ve been dealing with some mismatches [of schedules].”
“Scheduling conflicts” entails a wide variety of things. For some students, it means Career Center classes beginning before their other class ends. For others, it means Career Center classes starting during their lunch time. In addition, each of the three Columbia high schools runs on a separate schedule. The variance of the different high schools’ schedules with that of the Career Center can cut into learning time, senior Maha Hamed said.
“Bruin Block affected people’s schedule. Because of it, students will sometimes come late to career center classes,” Hamed said. “There are kids from other classes in those classes, and so the teacher will have already started teaching but have to catch up the Rock Bridge kids when they come in, which changes the entire lesson plan.”
The Career Center received several complaints about problems with schedules, Gooch said, some from students and parents but others from CPS faculty and administrators. These complaints have prompted discussion about changing schedules of the Career Center and the high schools to match up better.
“We’re in the process of thinking about ways we can change either our [Career Center] schedule or ways high schools can tweak their schedule so that it could all work much better together,” Gooch said. “That way, more students could have access to Career Center classes. ”
However, creating a matching system with the Career Center is difficult and complicated. Each high school has a specific reason for having its schedule be the way it is, Gooch said. Right now, the discussion revolves around finding a way that benefits students from all schools. Because of this, the process has not moved forward very much.
“We’re very much in the formative stage,” Gooch said. “We’re in the early process; nothing is set. A lot of formal conversations that are needed have not taken place, but we know this need to change.”
As the Career Center and CPS staff get further into the process of finding a solution to the scheduling problem, there will be more involvement from everyone currently affected by it .
“We can’t foresee what problems a new schedule can cause,” Gooch said. “It is important to us, that everyone- teachers, students, administrators- who is affected by this has a voice in the matter.”
By Humera Lohdi