Course selection begins in February ever year with new options in graduation requirements or electives for students to choose from. The administration plans to offer four new courses for the upcoming school year.
San Marin graduation requirements currently require seniors to take a semester of Economics and a semester of Government. The school considered extended each course to a full year while seeking student input.
“Juniors were supposed to be surveyed in their History classes,” Assistant Principal Diane Santamorena said. “What came out of that was an overwhelming [number of] students liked the way things are offered currently where you can take a semester of AP Government and a semester of AP Economics. That is still on the table and being offered.”
The school has added two options to fulfill these requirements.
Environmental Economics will be offered though a partnership with the College of Marin. The course will be offered during the fall term and students will take either Government or AP Government in the spring.
The class is a dual-enrollment course which means students receive college credit as well as high school graduation credit for completing the class.
AP Government with embedded economics is a year-long course designed for students who are interested in government and want to delve deeper into government and its relationship with economics.
“The course credit would be only one semester of AP, five credits, but the other five credits would be your college prep Economics,” Santamorena said. “The benefit would be if you are really interested in Government, it does go a little bit deeper because it is one year and Economics is embedded. That means as you’re learning about a particular topic in Government, the economic impact is then taught with it so it’s within context.”
Some students felt that the course selection sheet did not include enough information to help them decide between the options available for fulfilling the Economics and Government requirements. Junior Sophia Power expressed confusion about the distinction between the courses.
“The only information I know about the options is from other students,” Power said. “I don’t feel it was adequately explained.”
Moreover, she noted that she wished counseling appointments were before initial course selections.
“I understand that the counseling department is busy,” Power said. “But I think it would help in the long run to talk to your counselor before you tried to input classes, given that there’s so much confusion.”
Multimedia Design and Production is the second course in the Career and Technical Education pathway for Multimedia and Design. Any student who passes Multimedia with a B or higher is eligible to sign up for the Design and Production class.
The final new course is Speech and Debate, which will be available to sophomores through seniors.
“One of the reasons we’re offering it as a credited class is that it’s a lot of work doing Speech and Debate. If we can get credit, then that helps pave the way for students who might not necessarily take it,” Santamorena said. “I know there’s some questions about when it’s going to be offered. We don’t know yet; we need to get the enrollment and staffing first.”
As is true with any course, new courses are subject to enrollment. If enrollment is not high enough to fill a classroom, the course is not offered.
Santamorena hopes students will take the time to choose their classes with careful consideration.
“We do encourage students to be very selective when they are choosing their classes because class changes are not guaranteed as many students experienced this year,” Santamorena said. “We have full classes which means that we can’t easily switch classes once they’re all set. But I know that students get disappointed when they don’t get the classes they want. There are 1,100 students and we try to do the best we can.”