Course Selection and Scheduling
For more information about class scheduling, please contact:
Robyn Washburn, registrar
503-297-1894, ext. 4004
Beginning in April, students request classes for the coming year. Returning students discuss course forecasting with their parents and advisors. Advisors help students make informed choices adhering to course eligibility and graduation requirements. New students indicate their choices for modern language, computer science, and arts classes through a one-on-one meeting with an Upper School administrator.Those choices, along with transcript information and placement testing, enable the departments and registrar to forecast an academic program. Course requests are compiled for academic scheduling by the registrar. Priority in scheduling is given to meeting the most student requests possible. Conflicts between courses do sometimes arise, and students are encouraged to participate in resolving the problem.
Adding and Dropping Classes: Students wishing to change classes after the schedule is published should complete an “add / drop” slip available through the registrar. Required signatures include parent, teacher, C&C advisor, and (for juniors and seniors) college counselor. Due to the complexity of scheduling, it is not possible for students to request specific teachers or specific sections of courses. If a class is full, the student will be given the option of joining a waitlist, and the registrar will notify the student if a space becomes available. Students interested in adding a course should make the request as soon as possible; once the teacher decides too much material has been covered to catch up reasonably, it is too late to join. The last day to drop a class without impacting the student transcript is published for each term on our academic calendar. After the established drop deadlines, it is only possible to Withdraw due to an extenuating circumstances.
Repeating a Course: Some elective offerings can be taken more than once for credit. We have noted this possibility within the course description. For a required course, repeating is only permitted through teacher recommendation, consent of Department, and approval by Upper School Head. Students repeating a required course receive a final grade and credit at the end of the second attempt.
In rare cases, when a student has exhausted our program of offerings, they may propose an independent study on an area of interest. Independent studies do not count toward departmental requirements and are not commonly scheduled. A student who is interested in taking an independent study should consult with his or her academic advisor, the department chair, and a faculty member who would supervise the experience. Students applying for an independent study are required to write a proposal and submit it with an “Independent Study Contract” form. The Upper School Head gives final approval for all independent study applications.
Independent study in the arts is for students to extend their learning beyond the two-year arts requirement of the Upper School. It is not possible to substitute a non-Catlin Gabel arts course for something already offered in the curriculum to meet academic requirements. For example, it is not possible to take a beginning acting course at the NW Children's Theater for academic credit at Catlin Gabel. It is the school's belief that engagement in two years of on-campus arts experiences furthers our mission to educate the "whole student" and enables students to build a well-rounded understanding of themselves as artists, learners, and community members.
The arts department offers two types of independent study. The first is a school-faculty facilitated study where the student pursues learning in an arts discipline that goes beyond current course offerings. Past examples have included honors visual arts students who wish to add portfolio-relevant ceramics to their portfolio and pursue study with the ceramics instructor, or a filmmaking student who wishes to produce a documentary on a topic of their choosing in partnership with a Catlin Gabel media instructor. For the majority of these students, their commitment to deepening their knowledge in an arts area and/or exploring new terrain requires the student to write a prospectus, research an area of study, and maintain an ongoing commitment to studio practice or rehearsal in collaboration with Catlin Gabel faculty. These students are thus awarded a full academic credit.
The second opportunity is a faculty-supervised pursuit of advanced study in the arts outside of Catlin Gabel. Typically students engaged in advanced instrumental study seek this option. Occasionally a student may pursue something outside the academic curriculum along the lines of darkroom photography. These students generally practice their artform with an organization outside of school, and the level of their in-school engagement is limited to a periodic check-in with a supervising faculty and two community performances or exhibitions per calendar year. For these students, they may earn .5 credit per academic year. Any student engaged in an independent study is required to maintain a weekly blog, documenting their work in process in order to remain metacritical about their artistic growth and to maintain transparency with supervising faculty.
Finally, individual teachers have the right to decline to supervise an independent study if a student's proposal does not fall within one of the two paradigms above and/or if supervision or instruction of the independent study takes the instructor appreciably beyond their teaching load.