The Coin: New Schedule: A Positive and Refreshing Update

It’s 9:47 on a Wednesday night. I have returned back from a musical rehearsal and realized that between classes, practice and dinner, I have not had any time to do any of my homework. Shoot. I still need to shower and finish an article for the Coin in the Reserve Record about the new schedule. Time for some triage. Today I had math, chemistry, history and English. Tomorrow I’ll have math, Spanish and band. So the only homework I desperately need to finish right now is math. I can handle that. I crack open my textbook and start working on inverse function problems.

This scenario would not be possible without the new schedule. Last year most of us had to prepare for as many as six classes a night. Due to the length of the school day, the sports requirement, extracurricular activities, as well as maintaining healthy habits like sleeping, it was almost impossible to do everything one might want to do.

Academic Plus, or A+, is another, well, plus. It’s a built-in free period, one that many people desperately need. Before the school year started, we heard so much about how this was a time to be used for collaboration, extra-help or studying, and I thought, “Nice idea, but no one’s going to use it for that when they could be watching Netflix.” And yeah, I’m sure there is some of that, but to my own surprise, I have actually been productive during the A+ periods. It allows me to get some of my homework done early so that I am not scrambling to finish everything right after I get back from musical rehearsal or an away game.

I also enjoy the rotating aspect of this new schedule. I talked earlier about how that gave me extra time to do homework, and it is true. Last year, if I had a class, chances were that I would have it the next day as well, and, therefore, need to do the homework the day I received it. Now I follow that rule even with the new schedule, but it is great to know that I often have an extra day if I need it, and there have been many times when I have.

Now onto the block periods. I hated them last year. There definitely were some classes in which I was not looking forward to an extra twenty-five minutes. When it was announced that all classes this year would be in seventy-five minute blocks, I was scared. I am a nerd, so I get pretty excited for school. But the thought of all block periods was too much for even me. To my surprise, however, the classes have seemed pretty normal! Maybe it is the fact that every single one is the same length, and we do not have fifty minute periods to tempt us. Maybe it is the fact that teachers really seem to utilize the extra time well, or maybe it is just me being crazy.

There are some downsides to the positives I listed above. The rotating schedule makes it so that different classes do things on different days. This was a bit of an issue last year, but now that we operate on a cycle instead of a weekly schedule, it makes this problem a bit more pronounced. For instance, back in the beginning of the year I had a test on Friday, but due to the schedule (and Labor Day) the other class did not have it until Tuesday, giving them an extra four nights to prepare. This is an extreme case though, and most of the time the difference is much, much less. Another minor annoyance is the fact that the school day ends later this year, but sports have also been pushed back. And next year we will not need fifteen minutes between classes so that time will probably be cut.

In my friendly debate with Ilyana, she noted the inefficiency of the schedule. She sometimes has to walk to the pods, to Morning Meeting, to the pods, to lunch, then back to the pods again. I would argue that this claim is more against the pods rather than the schedule, but she countered with a suggestion that the A+ period be moved to right before lunch to eliminate all the walking back and forth. Personally, I don’t really like this solution, given that the pods are a temporary thing, and having the A+ period between classes is a way to break up the day more and give all of us another well needed break.

To conclude, the new schedule greatly reduces the heavy burden placed on students by school.

– Ellie Frato-Sweeney ’20

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