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Option ii changes frustrate underclassmen

Option ii has always been an academic tradeoff for school systems.  Although it allows students to progress further in certain subject areas, sometimes they do not properly learn the information, which can lead to students enrolling in higher level courses for which they are unprepared.

In December, the WW-P Board of Education approved limitations to the Option ii program, limiting students to only one Option ii course per year and one course per subject area across their entire high school careers. Previously, students had been allowed to take two courses per year in any subject area.  The school board has received strong backlash from members of the community for these new rules.

Many students enter high school with an exact plan of which courses they will take each year and believe the Option ii changes have limited their flexibility.  “I was planning on skipping all of math, so I could double up on history, but I am not able to do that,”  freshman Shubham Saharan said.  “It really messed up what I had planned.”

Some underclassmen also believe that the changes are unfair, because seniors were able to skip more classes and get to higher levels through Option ii.  “There are upperclassmen who skipped a lot of different classes, so for us as freshmen seeing what they’ve achieved, we have certain expectations that we want to meet, and we can’t get there,”  freshman Nitya Labh said.

According to North guidance director Lee Riley, Financial Literacy, the most commonly taken Option ii course, will be available to take during study hall starting next year.  Since it is only a 2.5-credit course, students will be able to take the class every other full letter-day cycle in order to fulfill the graduation requirement.  However, Financial Literacy will be the only class available to take during study hall.  This change will make it easy for band students, as well as students who want to pursue other interests, to get the requirement off their hands.

The new restrictions may also cause problems for students who transfer and are placed in courses below their potential.  “I moved from India in the ninth grade and was placed in some of the lowest ranking classes in the high school.  Without Option ii, I would not have grown to the spot where I am now,” junior Vishal Vijayakumar said.  “Currently, I am in AP Calculus AB and several other advanced science courses, which would not have been possible if the new Option ii rules were in place when I first moved in.”

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