Last March, dozens of BHS students received a disappointing email from their guidance counselor. This notice disrupted schedules, upset IB diploma tracks, and saddened teachers. It was, of course, the decision eliminate the HL Physics and Chemistry classes from the curriculum.
Many of you may wonder, “Why should I care? Physics and Chemistry are hard and I didn’t want to take them HL anyways”. Well, unsympathetic student, to that I respond: think of your peers. Surprisingly, some people actually like science and enjoy the challenge of taking it at a higher level. Most don’t even know if they would enjoy these subjects, and now will not have the chance to try them out. And, for the students who already took their first year HL and were then told that they could not continue on their prospective track, this news was devastating (or at the very least inconvenient).
Despite this setback, IB coordinator Mr. Cannon maintains that all the seniors whose schedules were affected were still able to take the necessary classes (and tests) to receive the diploma. But, is this good enough? The explanation for the decision that I received numerous times was that there simply is not enough space or resources to accommodate the needs of the few students that want to take HL Physics or Chemistry. But two years ago the IB Math HL II class had only seven students, and yet that class still exists today (albeit with more than seven people). And, yes, I understand that those that wish to test HL in science can do so in Biology, but if a tiny Painting II class (such as last year) or in the HL Math II class can run, why can’t Physics and Chemistry as well?
I understand that some years there are simply not enough people for a class, but definitively saying that HL Physics and Chemistry will never be an option at BHS again seems a little unfair. One person raised an interesting point at the recent IB Diploma Orientation Night questioning, “What’s to stop the school from getting rid of other classes in the future that students are counting on to test in?”. To his credit, Mr. Cannon responded honestly, saying that there really isn’t anything, and that it is just a possibility that everyone has to be aware of.
Considering the sheer number of students that received emails telling them the class they requested was no longer running, it seems improbable that there wasn’t enough interest to run it this year, especially for IB Chemistry I HL. However, considering the rumors going around that the school is planning on bringing back these HL’s, there may still be hope. In the end though, it is the students’ opinions that matter, and the large consensus is either apathy or outrage, so if no one is really happy about this decision, how long can it stand?