Pre-Registration Numbers Show New Trends in Class Popularity for 2010–11

As students grow more and more concerned about their competition for colleges, this is reflected in their choices of electives.

Enrollments fluctuate from year to year, and the 2010–2011 school year is no different.

According to the guidance department, AP Environmental Studies and AP American Government show steady gains in enrollment from last year, with no official numbers yet available.

Assistant Principal James Farnen, who is in charge of scheduling, said that overall enrollment increased from last year to this.

“People are taking more classes and fewer frees,” Farnen said.

He added that new classes for next year, Computer Programming and Intro to Web Programming have “taken off” in enrollment.

“If you build it, they will come,” he said.

From the preliminary pre–registration data, math courses received around 170 more requests than last year, and science received around 200 more.

AP Environmental Science teacher Michael Aitkenhead responded with enthusiasm when told about the preliminary inclinations of APES’ popularity.

He currently teaches four out of seven sections, which he said would like to see grow.

Aitkenhead said that APES is popular because of a growing awareness of environmental issues not covered in the rest of the science curriculum.

“Kids understand the importance of the subject,” Aitkenhead said. “Kids feel that the material is relevant to their lives, so they can apply it.”

In the math department, the class Personal Finance Management, introduced just this year, was “well received,” according to Farnen.

The social studies class AP Economics was rumored among students to have decreased in enrollment, though no official numbers are available.

Max Gibson ’12 signed up for the AP without noting the steady decrease in enrollment over the years.

“I felt like I would enjoy Econ because of its mathematical aspects,” said Gibson, who plans on taking four AP classes next year.

“I have friends who have taken the class and liked it,” he added.

He also said that the decrease in enrollment did not affect his decision to take the class.

Though classes for next year are still tentative, the fact that students are choosing more classes and more challenging classes over frees is heartening to teachers and administrators.

“I’m proud of the school for offering so many choices, and proud of the students for choosing classes over frees,” Farnen said.