An inside look into Dulaney’s class scheduling process

Lily Hemmeter, Features Editor

As a senior, I have registered for classes at Dulaney High School four times now, and this was the first year I ran into any scheduling conflicts. After emailing back and forth with guidance counselor John Komosa, I was able to creatively fit all of my desired classes together. While not an easy task, it was entirely worth the effort. This complication gave me a tiny glimpse into the job of Christopher Parker, the chief mastermind behind Dulaney’s class scheduling.

Apart from my own unique experience, I realized I was ignorant to this process of scheduling that is integral to the education of every student. Upon speaking with Parker to gain insight into the work of him and the counseling department, I asked what the hardest part of his job is.

“It’s all-encompassing,” said Parker with no hesitation.

In mid-November, the cycle begins with the feeder middle schools receiving request forms for their eighth grade students to choose two elective classes. The Dulaney counselors also meet with every underclassman to guide their class selections. After the requests from all incoming and current students are made, they are sorted into a codified list. From there, Parker figures out how many sections of each class to have. An important factor to consider is the fluctuation of rising class sizes. For example, if the incoming 10th grade is unusually large, they will need more English 10 classes than the previous year. Each department chair receives a copy of Parker’s charts so that they can assign teachers to the classes. The final step to the process involves arranging all of these components to complete the puzzle which isn’t finalized until the end of August. Compromises must be made in order to make all of the pieces fit together.

Parker said, “the thing that really pains me at the end of every schedule is that I want to keep working on a schedule until everybody gets what they want.”

While some students may not be completely happy with their classes, the counselors are open to customization up to and even after the school year starts. In my case, I was able to do a self-study of Advanced Placement (AP) studio art this year. While not ideal, it is totally manageable and better than the alternative of not taking art at all. 

Most scheduling conflicts arise when students request classes that only have one or two sections, such as AP European history or an upper-level foreign language. This limits the chances of having everything else fit perfectly in the student’s schedule. 

Luckily, with Parker and the counseling team working for them, Dulaney students can be confident that their schedules are in good hands. I applaud the effort that is devoted to this essential part of our education.

Parker reflected on his work: “Sometimes I just sit back, and I’m amazed that I got it all done.”