New bell schedule introduced for 2019-20 school year

Graphic by Dante DiMauro

Shaheer Siddique and Sophie Naylor

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As administration discusses possible changes to the schedule in the coming year, rumors concerning a lengthened school day are spreading quickly through the school.

As part of Superintendent Dr. Michael Conner’s strategic operating plan for the school district and in agreement with the new teacher’s contract, the school day will be elongated by ten minutes in the coming school year. The change will be taking place to “increase instructional time and strategy,” according to Christopher Drake, Chairman of the Board of Education. This change is district wide.

Principal Colleen Weiner said that the high school is working on forming a schedule that will meet both the requirements of an extra ten minutes and other necessary changes in order to meet the needs of students and teachers, including accommodating the incoming freshman class’s new credit requirements. “We’re trying to find a schedule that ensures that we are able to have four lunches, add ten minutes to the day, not lose any of our electives, ensure that the core teachers only need to teach five so they can still have their data team, so that those are some of the things that the committee was really looking at.”

As it stands, the strategic operating plan includes a ten minute increase in the 2019-2020 school year and another ten minute increase in the 2020-2021 school year, ultimately resulting in a dismissal time of 2:20.

According to Weiner, this further complicates the scheduling process. Weiner said, “We’re going to gain ten minutes next year and another ten minutes the following year, so I think the issue is do we build a schedule for one year, or do we build something that is going to be expandable the year after.”

The expanded school day has received mixed reactions from students. A lengthened day would provide more instructional time, but some students are concerned with how they’ll be able to cope with the extra time on top of the work they already do outside of school.

Junior Ashley Chuang said, “I just feel that [a longer day is] not necessary because we already have so much homework and extracurricular activities that students will be unable to keep up with schoolwork.”

Senior Haillie Bakula is also concerned about the effects of a longer schedule. “School days are already seven hours long, any longer would take away from the amount of time students have to maintain their social lives, sports practices would either have to be shortened or go on later, and there could be less time for students to do their work at home.”

Others doubt the benefits of an extra ten minutes of school each day.

Junior Isabella Galle said, “I think it’s kind of pointless that they’re attempting to evenly distribute only ten extra minutes between a certain number of periods in the day, so every class would only be a couple minutes longer which would be kind of useless.”

Junior Cierra Freer agrees. She said, “I think that ten minutes is a nominal amount of time, it doesn’t affect very much.”

The length of the school day is not the only change that the school’s schedule is facing in the coming academic year. According to Weiner, a committee of 30 teachers has been meeting to discuss possible models for next year’s schedule. The most popular model was a two-day rotating schedule with four periods of 85 or 87 minutes, with a total of eight periods. Juniors and seniors are expected to be placed in study halls that fall at the beginning or end of the school day so that they may apply for late arrival or early leave.

The length of the periods is being voted on by the committee of teachers, and results were supposed to be released at nine A.M. on February 8.

This modified schedule has also received mixed reactions.

Galle said, “I think it’s better to attend a class more than just once every other day because otherwise you’ll forget the material or you’ll begin to slack off.”

However, some students are in favor of the change. Freshman Julia Kawka said, “I wouldn’t mind that we’d have more time to do homework since we wouldn’t have that class the next day.”

Weiner said that one of the main goals of the administration in divising a new schedule is to create a schedule that fits all of the criteria for graduation and is easy to follow. She hopes to create “something more logical” than the current schedule so that students can make the most out of their high school experience.

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