Class scheduling moves from Naviance to Q student connect

Students learn new system for course selection

As of 2019, Naviance, the familiar interface that students have used for class requests in the past, will be replaced. After a thorough comparison of numerous applications, the administration decided that Q Student Connect was the best option for the switch.

Naviance discontinued their preceding system and turned to a new one where incoming freshman would pick their classes in advance for the next four years. Since this new method doesn’t coincide with Oak Park High School’s master schedule, a switch of programs was necessary.

Student Connect portals opened on February 23 at 6 p.m. for current juniors, February 26 at 9 p.m. for sophomores, February 28 at 9 p.m. for freshmen and all portals will close at March 3 at 9 p.m.

Some students are concerned that this system might not run as smooth or be as fair as Naviance which was based on a first come, first served format.

“I personally don’t like the new format of picking classes, because there’s no guaranteeing which ones you’ll get,” junior Erica Thompson wrote to the Talon. “I don’t think it’s fair that someone who procrastinates picking their classes could possibly take someone else’s spot in a class who signed up right away.”

However, according to Principal Kevin Buchanan, the new system isn’t really a lottery system.

“We put classes in based on course requirements. All students will get all of their core classes including AP and honors as long as they meet the prerequisites. Some classes, where the demand exceeds the supply, like some zero period classes, will be closed once the enrollment caps are met. So, students who make course requests first have a greater chance of getting those classes,” Buchanan said.

Other students have voiced their concerns with the new process of requesting classes and have questioned if it’ll be as effective as Naviance.

“From what I’ve heard, the new program doesn’t sound like it’ll run smoothly at all. I think it’ll only complicate things for [students],” sophomore Ryan Kokenis wrote to the Talon.

While students are upset at the discontinuation of the priority system, the administration is also having trouble on the back end of the situation. Previously, Naviance’s course request module made for an easy-to-manage process with integrated tools such as the ability to timestamp, cap courses, and waitlist students. Q Student Connect is a less user-friendly interface because it restricts, not one, but all of these prior abilities.

“I could potentially get 300 course requests for a zero period,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan said he is expecting roughly 20,000 course requests overall. To avoid complications, Buchanan and school counselor Randy McLelland will be monitoring the request process live on a computer to manually cap classes for students checking the availability of their desired course.

“Once a class gets to a point where we know that it’s full, we’re going to turn that course off,” Buchanan said.

While it has its inconveniences, an upside of Q Student Connect is that it allows the administration to preload required courses to save time. However, this aspect of the program begins to fall short as the students move through each grade level. Whereas six classes can be preloaded onto a freshman’s schedule, only one class, Life Skills, can be preloaded onto a senior’s schedule.

“This works better at middle school because almost all of the students are taking the same courses,” Buchanan said.

In addition to holding several course advisement meetings, Buchanan has uploaded a slideshow and two tutorials on Oak Park High School’s website to better inform the students signing up for their next year’s classes.

“[The faculty] realizes that it’s a difficult situation that’s compounded by the fact that [former Assistant Principal Bryan] Martin isn’t here,” Buchanan said.

In the past, Martin was in charge of managing students’ class requests. As of August 27, 2018, Martin transferred districts to be the new principal at Rancho Campana High School.

“There may be some difficulties adjusting to the new process but I have no doubt that OPHS will end up having a master schedule that serves all of its students’ needs,” Bryan Martin wrote to the Talon. “OPHS will be a beacon for the community and Ventura County for years to come.”