Similar to any new system, the first year of implementation for DLSU SHS involves assessing the effectiveness of the program and providing the needed adjustments. Vice Chancellor for Academics Dr. Robert Roleda discloses that many adjustments needed to be done. “Anything [in] [SHS] is new and like any new system, we keep adjusting [to what works] best,” he states.
Change in classroom venues
In a February 2016 issue by The LaSallian, Dr. Roleda mentioned that only around 600 students were to be accepted in the University for the first batch of SHS students. However, he reveals that the number of Grade 11 students from last year amounted to nearly 780, and the number of Grade 11 students this year reached 1,050.
“Initially when the SHS was being planned, we were looking at the population of 600 students per year. [When we estimated it], [St. La Salle (LS) Hall] would be sufficient. LS would exactly have the number of classrooms that would be needed by SHS,” Dr. Roleda adds.
However, with the higher number of accepted enrollees than what was initially projected, Dr. Roleda explains that the University had to accommodate the SHS students in other buildings such as the Don Enrique T. Yuchengco Hall, St. Joseph Hall, and St. Miguel Hall. “The classrooms in the other buildings are bigger and the average class size of SHS is around 40 compared to college [with around] 32,” he shares.
Further adjustments taken
The length of classroom hours for SHS is another concern of the University. Since the Commission on Higher Education requires SHS students around five “contact hours” every week, DLSU SHS students have classes which run from 7 am to 5 pm or 7 am to 6 pm.
“What we did this year was to introduce blended learning, so classroom hours [are] reduced to three hours and two hours will be online learning. That reduced the number of hours,” Dr. Roleda states.
Another concern was the scheduling of classes. Dr. Roleda shares that SHS initially began with 8 am classes, but classes were later changed to start at 7:30 am due to concerns about students going home late.
The primary concern, however, lies in making the SHS curriculum at par with DLSU’s standards. According to Dr. Roleda, the Department of Education (DepEd) has provided a standardized curriculum for the SHS students with the vision that certain subjects would no longer be needed in the tertiary level.
Despite this, DLSU continues to develop the SHS curriculum beyond DepEd guidelines. “We have to make sure that the quality of SHS is at par with our college education. That is the primary reason why we are operating SHS. The proper consideration is the quality of the students who will come to college by 2018,” Dr. Roleda asserts.
In the future, Dr. Roleda reveals that additional sub-strands would be also offered in the SHS. “They’re all in the works. We’re getting permits, some of them already have permits from DepEd,” he shares.
For instance, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Strand may have sub-strands in Information Technology and even sub-strands from Accountancy, Business, and Management (ABM). As an example, this may be called the STEM-ABM Strand.
As told by SHS students
Erin Altares (116, ABM) asserts that DLSU’s efforts are sufficient enough to accommodate their stay as SHS students. “I don’t have any complaints, and [the school] is doing well. [It is expected] from a University like La Salle,” Altares expresses.
Similarly, Julian Lazo (116, STEM) shares a satisfactory outlook on the current system. “This year they introduced blended learning which benefits most, if not all of the SHS students because we spend lesser time on campus and can have our lessons or assignments carried out online,” Lazo adds.
As for the change in classroom venues, Altares had a positive remark for the classrooms, given that they are equipped with projectors and desktop computers. “But I’ve noticed how the black boards and the white boards aren’t the best. The writing is barely visible and [is] difficult to erase,” he says.
On the other hand, Lazo shares that the classroom placements this year are better than last year where all of the students were crammed on the third floor of St. La Salle Hall. He also cites
that the elevators are fast in the Yuchengco Building, and that he has no complaints regarding the change in classrooms.
In terms of the performance of the SHS Student Council (SC), Altares and Lazo state that they are properly disseminating information to the student body, as well as providing communication and transparency between the SHS SC and the rest of the SHS community.
“The [SHS] experience in DLSU could be described [as] new and exciting. We appreciate how our system was made similar to the college system in different ways ranging from handbook rules to how learning is implemented,” Lazo shares.