As many BSGE students know, our school is small. One result of this is that our science department, while still very good, doesn’t have everything it could have if this were a larger school. Specifically, we have no physics class and no HL science classes. In the IB program, HL stands for “higher level,” as opposed to SL, which stands for “standard level.” While both are IB courses, and therefore quite advanced by necessity, HL classes are more advanced than SL.
Many BSGE students are very annoyed at these features that our science department does not have. Having no physics class can put us at a disadvantage when students try to decide if they should stay here or go to a different school for 9th grade, and then again when students compete for college spots with people from other schools. Emily Costa ’17 said that she thinks that “physics is a very important subject for a school to have, and it would be great for BSGE. When 8th graders decide on a high school, the lack of a physics department may cause students to favor other schools.” Leeana Johnston ’17 explained that many people who choose to stay despite these problems regret their choice, because “there are many students that apply to MIT but no one ever gets in because none of them have taken these standard, basic courses and that puts them at a disadvantage. This school is supposed to open up your options and allow you to get into better schools, but the fact that we are not offered those classes takes this away.” For a school like ours, which attracts people who are quite capable of getting into universities such as MIT, this is a huge problem.
Not every student sees this as a major problem, however. Talika Basantani ’18 said that in her opinion the lacking science department does not matter so much, because “In BSGE, we take more semesters of high school classes than any other classes. For example, taking ten semesters of high school math instead of six or eight.” She added that not having “HL chem/bio isn’t that much of a problem because biology and chemistry are provided at our school so we at least have some knowledge about that.” To some people, the advantages of going to this school and participating in the IB program far outweigh the disadvantages of a science department that lacks physics and HL science.
The BSGE administration and parents recognize that the disadvantages BSGE students face because these deficiencies are real, and they are something to be concerned about. Margaret Pasach, the parent coordinator, explained that there are efforts about addressing these issues, but they have not come to anything yet. There are thoughts of partnering with College Now, a summer program provider, though they have not been able to work it out. In addition, there are thoughts of introducing math HL classes, though those are a long way from being plans as well. BSGE being a small school means that we cannot have everything, but we can try very hard to have everything we can.