By Regan Estes
The Mira Costa administration will be implementing slight changes to the 2011-12 Advanced Placement policy, including a day in which AP students are able to transfer out, in hopes of allowing more flexibility for students.
Students will still be required to sign a binding commitment form pledging that they will remain in their selected AP class. However, instead of semester-long commitments like this year, students will be forced to commit to the class for the entire year.
“We want to make sure that our students are 100% dedicated, just like the Costa staff and teachers are,” Mira Costa Principal Ben Dale said.
Most students will hand in their commitment forms to the student store during a newly added commitment week of April 11-15.
“We are constantly self-evaluating our policies,” Dale said. “We knew we were dealing with a new policy and new policies always need change. We will revise it again next year. It’s part of being a good school.”
Another change that will give students more freedom is the addition of “opt-out day.” This day, Aug. 11 students will be allowed one chance to drop or switch out of an AP or Honors class they signed up for that year.
“We know that a student’s life may change over the summer,” Dale said. “They may find out they’re team captain and realize they can’t handle such a heavy load anymore. We want them to be able to opt out. On August 12, they’re in it for the year.”
Previously, there was no need for a day such as this. However, with last year’s implementation of the commitment form policy, the administration believes that students should be allowed a chance out if they are unsure.
While this new rule is meant to help Mira Costa students if they change their mind, some students feel that opt-out day is still too early. Instead, these AP students believe that they should be able to experience the actual class and see how hard the work load is before they make a final decision on the class.
“AP European history is the first AP class that I’m taking,” sophomore Brady Stroyke. “I really had no idea how hard it was going to be before I took it. I feel like opt-out day would help students so much more if it were after school starts in September and we get to know the class and its workload. That way, we will really be able to get a sense of the work load the class will require.”
Counselors at Mira Costa are hopeful that improved communication with the students and set dates will increase the success of students in AP classes.
“It’s hard to tell how things will turn out,” counselor Corrine Lee-Iwai said. “Everything is pretty new so far. I’m hopeful that by having dates up front there will be more organization. The better communication will lead to student success.”