Electives provide a break for students


Agastya Mittal

Sixth period engineering 2 students launching their rockets more than 100 feet in the air in the fields behind the trailers.

Many students’ favorite parts of the day are when they enter their elective classrooms, where learning is directed towards student’s interests. Many teachers and staff also work hard to make sure that students have the best possible experience in elective classes.

When students request electives, engineering usually goes through their mind. 

“Many students pick engineering as one of their main choices,” said Jennifer Miley, the director of student services at RCMS.

Engineering is heavily requested because it allows students to design and make creations. Engineering is a really hands-on class, which results in many people taking it.

“My favorite elective is engineering 1 because it’s simple and it’s fun,” said Hemanya Katram, a seventh-grader on the Discovery team. “I also find it fun to 3D print stuff.”

What Changed due to the Pandemic

Music classes were on a decline since the start of the pandemic, but are making a comeback. 

“Since the pandemic is over, music classes have been gaining popularity again,” Ms. Miley said. “More people are willing to use instruments again.”

Gender Distribution in Electives

There are electives that more boys tend to take than girls, such as computer courses. 

“Computer solutions and coding are electives that more boys take than girls,” said Ms. Miley. “We are trying to get more girls to take computer related classes.”

Unlike the boys, there are no electives that girls tend to gravitate towards more than boys. 

“Girls don’t tend to gravitate to any electives that boys don’t,” Ms. Miley said. “Even FACS is around a 50/50 split.”

Additional Electives

Even with the wide array of electives to choose from, students are regularly asking for additional electives added to the curriculum. Two widely requested electives are adding more engineering classes and different sports. 

“I would add more engineering classes and soccer to the curriculum because I enjoy them,” said Shreyas Proddaturi, a seventh-grader on the Trailblazers team. 

When more classes are added because more students are enrolling, then more teachers will also be needed. 

“We receive requests to add more engineering electives, such as adding more teachers,” Ms. Miley said.

Sometimes, students feel stressed because they didn’t get an elective that they really wanted, but between seventh and eighth grade, about 90% of students get what they signed up for eventually.

“When students don’t get what electives they want, they come and talk to me,” Ms. Miley said. “I tell them that I will make sure to the best of my abilities that they get the electives they want by eighth grade.”

How are Schedules Created?

Students are curious about how each student in the school gets their own schedule, as there are more than 1400 students at RCMS. This process is partly done by people, and the computer takes care of the rest. 

“Students choose their electives, ranking their top 4, then give their alternates. The computer generates the schedules but I decide which periods a teacher will teach,” Ms. Miley said. “I then press a button on the computer and all the schedules come together and teachers know when to teach who.”