In just the past couple of years, Ridgewood High School has gone through major changes due to an influx of students. Some are obvious – like the switch to a 50-80-50 schedule or the drop of double lab periods. But there is a lot more going on behind the scenes, and both students and teachers have a lot to say.
You may have noticed the maroon signs that Dr. Gorman installed which hang from the ceiling and label the rooms in the main hallway. Mrs. O’Brien commented on this update, saying “they both look nice and make it so much easier for visitors and new students to navigate the school”. Certainly, even small details like room signs can add a bright flair the school’s environment. Additionally, new students also appreciate the aesthetic change. After all, coming to a school of almost 2,000 students from one of just around 800 is a huge leap – both physically and mentally. These new signs definitely help assuage some stress for many students across the school. For example, one anonymous freshman had an issue with her finding her classes and was able to depend on the hallway signs to help resolve it. And upperclassmen are commenting on the additions as well; Anna, a junior, says that she wishes those signs were there when she was a freshman to save her a lot of confusion.
The amount of courses and classes that RHS offers has also changed over the years. In general, the number of courses offered is dependent on the amount of students who sign up. Because it’s the residents of Ridgewood that pay for every teacher to be there, it can be viewed as futile to teach a class with a small roster. On the other hand, the number of certain classes are increasing. Music classes, for instance, are now being split. This year, there are two small Symphonic Orchestra classes instead of one large group, which has led to a very different learning atmosphere. The orchestra teacher, Mrs. Geronimo, says it has been a game changer since it is much easier for her to retain control and give more personal instruction. However, not all of the students feel the same way. One student in the orchestra commented that he wishes the class was bigger because if he plays a wrong note, it’s easier for others to notice. He was also split up from one of his friends and isn’t too thrilled about missing out on a shared experience.
But overall, the most obvious change to RHS over the past few years has been the schedule change. Students and teachers again gave their diverse opinions on the switch. “At first I thought it was going to be bad but it’s really not” said Jules, a junior who has experienced both the old and new schedule. “Having a free during an 80 minute allows me to get food or get a ton of work done, but sometimes 50 minute periods feel too short” she continues. In general, Jules commented that she prefers the 50-80-50 period over the 60-60-60. However, this is definitely not the case for some students. Ashli, another junior, wishes the school still used the 60-60-60 schedule. “Playing badminton in gym for over an hour gets boring” she says.
Ridgewood High School will continue to evolve as problems arise, the student population fluctuates, and technology becomes more advanced. Only time will tell how much more our school will change.
Graphic: Nicole Kye