Semesters Introduced at Reserve

Many changes have been made to Western Reserve Academy this year. The Learning Centers by the stadium as a replacement for Seymour Hall, new teachers in various departments and new schedules for classes all are some of the many changes. Riding on the coattails of these sweeping changes, a new half-year grading schedule was implemented, as well as a switch from the single-week format of old to a rolling schedule of 7 days. The change to two semesters instead of four marking periods is proving to be more of a shakeup than anticipated, especially for the senior class.

With college applications due for some as soon as October 15th, the only grades that will be available for hopeful applicants to top institutions will be an interim grade on October 12th. This interim grade is replacing a marking period grade from last year, and with it the all powerful grade reset, which enabled a struggling student to effectively wipe the slate clean and get the help they needed in order to progress in a helpful and understanding environment.

However, not all changes are negative; this transition to semesters provide a stronger argument for continued effort throughout all classes for all students, prompting a groan from the entire student body as Mr. Ong stated that the “grade reset would no longer be a crutch to rely on.” This half-year schedule also enables more teachers to teach classes they want to teach. With the schedule divided into two semesters, half-year electives have become far easier to schedule.

Most of the senior class is feeling the brunt of the schedule change. “[The schedule change] has had no positive effects for us as a senior class” Aeri Hong ‘18 says. “Honestly, our class is cursed.” Others in the class are a little more positive– or at least not as negative. “The change doesn’t affect us at all. We still just use our interim grade for things like college applications, just like we would a marking period grade — the reset is simply “an inconvenient loss,” another senior said.

As the year goes on, however, opinions might change as the student body realizes that their grade hinges entirely on putting together a full year, rather than short bursts of good activity like the old marking period system. Rather than focusing solely on grades for the entire school year, the semester system offers a way to simply become embroiled in one’s studies and take a chance at actually learning what Reserve as a school has to offer. Along with our shift from APs, students can look forward to what might just be a more enriching curriculum.

– John Kerins ’18

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