The Art of Merging a Class: Why AP European History became AP Art History


Cherise Kim

AP Art History teacher Mark Schuler giving a lesson about ancient Egyptian artwork.

Libby Jones, Managing Editor

When students walked into the school on the first day, they received their schedules. Most students had an idea of the classes that would be on them.

For a few upperclassmen, however, second period was not the AP European History they signed up for.

Instead, their schedules said they were taking AP Art History.

“I feel betrayed,” said senior Kabeer Chawla, who originally signed up for AP Euro and has since switched out of AP Art History.

In fact, no student was enrolled in AP Euro. That class and AP Art History were merged into one, and unless they had a conflict with another course on their schedule, students who signed up for either course were placed into Art History.

Mark Schuler, who teaches both AP European History and AP Art History, as well as AP World History, said he would have preferred if both classes were offered, but not enough students signed up for either course to justify a separate block for both.

“If we had room in our schedule we probably would’ve offered both,” said Schuler. “It’s so tricky to have some of these singletons [sic] make it because it’s such a small niche.”

Some students, like Chawla, chose to switch out of Art History because they weren’t interested in it. Others decided to take Art History even though it wasn’t the course they signed up for.

Senior Alex King said he wanted to take AP Euro because he likes history and thinks European history is interesting. He decided to stay in AP Art History because “it seemed like a good class environment” and he likes Schuler as a teacher.

Many students’ biggest frustration with the merge of the two classes was that they simply weren’t told until school started.

Both King and Chawla said they were upset that they had prepared for AP Euro.

“I put in time for my summer work, thinking I’d take AP Euro,” Chawla said.

Senior Adithya Chimalakonda signed up for AP Euro and bought the textbook for the class over the summer.

Due to the rest of his schedule, Chimalakonda wasn’t placed into AP Art History, but because it isn’t being offered he wasn’t in AP Euro either. He said this was especially disappointing because he specifically spoke with his counselor last spring to be able to take AP Euro.

“It was the class I was most excited to take this year,” he said.

Chimalakonda said he thinks classes like AP Euro should be given more weight during the scheduling process, as it is typically upperclassman-heavy.

“As seniors, since it is a class that [mostly] seniors take, they should give it priority,” he said.

Like the students, Schuler thinks students should be informed as soon as possible if a class they signed up for won’t be offered.

In order to avoid that as much as possible, though, Schuler said students need to make sure they don’t wait until August to sign up for a course they’re interested in.

“I just stress that if kids really want to take a class they have to sign up for it.”