The Quarter System is the Quintessential Schedule

 Portraits By Addie Lewis ’25 and Kelly Janssen ’23.
Comics By Addie Lewis ’25 and Kelly Janssen ’23.

 The quarter system has proven to be the best scheduling at Western Reserve Academy. Under the quarter system, students could manage an easier workload, had more flexibility with electives and experienced more frequent breaks from difficult classes.

This year, because students have to manage eight classes at one time instead of four, it has become much more difficult to pay special attention to their classes and deeply focus on what they are learning. Having four classes at a time was incredibly effective because it gave students the much needed time to focus on a limited number of subjects instead of eight, often completely different, subjects.

This provided a more balanced homework schedule and gave students more time to meet with teachers and hone in on particular areas of interest. Students had the opportunity to work closely with their teachers and were able to reach a deeper understanding of topics. Because classes met everyday, students were also less likely to forget what they learned in previous classes. This made learning easier, and it created structure to education. 

 Having four classes at a time made it a lot easier for students to focus on only those subjects. Along with that, there is less homework to do each night for classes.

 Although classes were a little more fast paced, they provided an opportunity for students to delve completely into topics that they were interested in. 

Considering electives, it was much easier to get people into electives they were interested in with a quarter system. Although the quarter system provided the same number of tracks as a semester system, last year students seemed to have more options and opportunities to join the classes they wanted. 

Additionally, the quarter system allowed WRA to add more tracks of electives later in the year if they were extremely popular among students in the first and second quarters. This also made it easier for the Academic Office to deal with the add and drop period. In a semester system, these actions become a little more difficult because they often tend to be set in stone early on into the year. There are also more tracks to keep tabs on and to work around when creating the perfect schedule for students’ needs.

 Another point for the quarter system rests in the flexibility of course scheduling. The quarter system allowes classes to meet in multiple tracks and across different quarters—this gives students the opportunity to fit more of the classes they wanted into their schedules. However, this made for a more limited class selection for certain elective courses.

 With the semester schedule, if a course does not fit neatly into your schedule, that is the end of any hope of stepping foot inside of that classroom. However, when one belongs to the quarter system, if a class, especially an elective, is unavailable for the current semester—no sweat! There are still three more quarters that exist for the student to find a way to modify their schedule in order to produce a more favorable outcome.

 Lastly, the quarter system is superior to the semester one because it allows for students to have breaks from classes they find challenging. For example, if someone finds math more challenging, the quarter system offers two quarter-long breaks from that math class. In the semester model, the student would have to take math year round, which might be a little more straining on them. 

The break between quarters offered a much-needed relief from certain subjects that a lot of people were shown to benefit from, thereby decreasing negative mental health rates and bad grades (assuming the class types are fairly balanced, of course). 

The quarter system was only in place because of the pandemic and the risk that the school would have to transition to online learning. However, it turned out to be a better schedule than the semester schedule for when students are on campus, a surprisingly positive outcome of COVID.

 The quarter system also provided more flexibility for scheduling classes because there were more open tracks. This gave students the option to pursue their interests. 

 The quarter system is much more beneficial to the WRA community than the current one in place, and future years would stand to benefit from reinstating that schedule, as it would make our school community a more relaxed one. 

– Skye Graham ’23

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