Rolling off campus

Rolling off campus

Marilyn Ramirez

Hundreds of students at Downey High choose not to take a first or sixth period, spending their time out of class either sleeping in or enjoying their short schedule. Off-roll has been highly controversial due to the increase in enrollment.

Irene Luna, Editor-in-Cheif

The school year has begun its end and eleventh graders did their individual Junior Evaluations, but most were surprised to find out that counselors were encouraging students take off-roll or become a teacher’s assistant rather than taking a different elective class.

“Lots of seniors graduate with 240 credits, and seniors always get priority when choosing classes,” Assistant Principal Lisa Lucke said.  “If a senior wants Ceramics, they’ve got it.  But most of the time, by second semester, they’re whining that they’d rather be off roll, and we as administrators are not going to force them to stay if they are ahead in credits.”

This is all the result of the school not having enough teachers and the Board of Education not hiring any more faculty members because of budget cuts.  But now more than ever, students are trying harder to get into the academic classes to heighten their chances to getting into better schools.

“I’m not planning to take off roll,” junior Meghana Nadimpalli said, “but it does seem resourceful; I know I always like to have time alone to study.  I could go to the library across the street, but that’s the only reason I would take off roll.”

Off roll is when a student—most always a senior—takes off one or more classes from their schedule to either get a job or some more study time.

When a student applies to be a teacher’s assistant, they must get a request form and have it filled out by the teacher; this class can be placed anywhere in the student’s schedule.  Math teacher Eric Bradfield has three teacher’s assistants, and many other teachers have lab assistants.

As a lab assistant, the student helps the teacher around their class for the whole year, and versus the “Credit/No Credit” grading system, when a student is a lab assistant, they are graded with the A-F grading scale.

“It’s not that I don’t like this school, but I’d like the feeling of leaving before everyone else—it seems like a great part of being a senior,” junior Eric Chon said.  “I wouldn’t T.A., though.  I’d rather take a class that will benefit me academically.”

When a student has more credits, that does not necessarily mean better grades.  But better grades in college-prep classes definitely makes a difference to the student that wants and needs it than the student that does not want more work.  Whatever the reason for taking off-roll, it is ultimately up to the students to make that choice.