Academic » Academic Placement

Academic Placement

circular arrowsPalms does an amazingly efficient job of assigning students to classes. We pride ourselves on it.

But not all class assignments can be settled on the first day of school, as explained below.

During the first 2 weeks of school in the Fall, and sometimes into the 3rd week, a student's class schedule may change if they are reassigned to a different class or teacher.

The challenges of student scheduling and academic placement are not unique to Palms, but the Palms staff works hard to get every student into the ideal classes as quickly as possible. You'll often find Assistant Principals and the Counselors working overtime to get the job done.

Why Aren't Class Placements Correct From the Start?

Four reasons:

  1. Students for whom Palms is the neighborhood school may show up on the first day of school without having previously enrolled. They are automatically eligible to attend Palms.
  2. Families with pre-enrolled students may move out of the neighborhood or change schools at the last minute.
  3. We rely on the student information we receive. If a student turns out to be an English Learner, a Special Education student with an Individual Education Plan (IEP), a gifted or honors student, a student who is supposed to be in a particular instrumental music class, etc. -- but their records don't show this -- then their classes will likely change.
  4. The number of teachers at Palms depends on the number of students enrolled. If the number of teachers goes up or down, based on enrollment, student class assignments must change.

Do the Math

With about 1500 students and 6 class periods, plus homeroom, there are over 10,000 student-to-classroom assignments to be determined each school year!

Some Factors that Affect Placement

  • Grade level
  • Regular school vs. Magnet school
  • Honors
  • Gifted
  • English Learners
  • Special Education
  • Elective preferences
  • Class size balance
  • Number of teachers

Questions and Answers

How Does it Work?

The team lead by the head of Counseling Services makes preliminary placements before the start of school, then makes rapid adjustments as new information about students arrives.

Academic classes are given first priority. A student's elective preferences are considered next. Most student schedules are settled by the end of the second week of school, but sometimes changes extend into the third week.

Will Students Get Behind?

If your child changes classrooms during the first weeks of school, they will not suffer academically. It's a very temporary inconvenience.

All Palms teachers know that students may change classes in the first weeks of the school year, so they tailor their lessons accordingly. For example, teachers may begin the year by having students do exercises to evaluate their abilities, rather than starting on a series of lessons that later-arriving students would miss.

What Should Parents Do?

  • Pay attention to your child's class assignments.
  • Let the school know of obvious mistakes.
  • Be patient, as the staff works out every student's class placements.
  • Understand that not every student can have their first choice of elective.
  • Help students understand the system.