Course requirements make elective selection challenging


The Catalyst / Photo courtesy of Lena Weingand

Students attended the Elective Fair on Tuesday January 24.

Throughout January, course request forms have been sent out to the freshmen, sophomores and juniors in preparation for next school year. After opting for the classes they are interested in, students are required to schedule an appointment with their guidance counselors to confirm that they are meeting the long list of necessary graduation requirements.

As a part of the NDB curriculum, students are required to take the following courses: Becoming NDB during first semester of ninth grade, a year of Physical Education and Health, a year of computer science and a year of a Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) elective. In addition, all students must complete four years of a Spiritual Life course and two to three years of a foreign language.

Although the requirements are set in an effort to ensure NDB students graduate with perspective from several academic areas, it has become increasingly difficult for students to enroll in a class of their choice, one they are truly interested in. It seems that the goals being set for NDB students are too high, and there is simply not enough time in the four years to meet them while incorporating additional classes of interest.

For most students, it is not until senior year when students are able to have freedom in their schedules to choose an elective that administration does not require them to take. However, many already know what subject areas they are drawn to long before senior year, but cannot demonstrate their interest in it because of the excessive course requirements. For example, a student may be certain that they want to pursue a career in STEM after high school, but would be unable to take an elective like Forensics Science or Environmental Science because of the art or physical education requirement. Therefore, the requirements can be more limiting than anything.

In general, elective courses are intended for students to elect a class they care about. They should be chosen for the student’s enjoyment and a way for them to express their individuality. With the current laundry list of requirements, students are being robbed of the opportunity to show interest in a specific subject.

Aside from student preference, the elective requirements also have a negative effect on class enrollment. It is difficult for some elective classes to have enough students enrolled since students who may be interested have to instead take required electives. The more unique electives such as Video Production and Journalism have a higher concentration of seniors, which is not necessarily ideal since electives are usually supposed to combine grade levels to make for a dynamic classroom environment.

Although it is important for students to be encouraged to challenge themselves and try new classes, the requirements are unrealistic and should be reduced. And if not this, then requiring them to only take a semester long course as opposed to a year long one would allow for more freedom earlier in their high school experience.

NDB offers so many amazing elective courses, and it is unfortunate that students are unable to take full advantage of them. Reducing the list of required electives will allow more time for students to take classes they are passionate about, which will prepare Tigers to graduate confident in the next steps in their education.