With the school year coming to a close, our next two months will be free of the dreaded 80 minute classes and the extremely long frees. As homework winds down and we sit in our classes, counting down the minutes, the once new schedule seems like an old routine. This new schedule received backlash when it first came out, however after a while, it was clear that it was going nowhere. With the growing population of freshman populating the school, the old schedule of hour classes was no longer an option. After an entire year of this transition, can we honestly say the new schedule effective?
The students that have been affected the most are those taking Advanced Placement science classes. These students don’t have a block free, but rather they have two frees every four days. Labs for these AP science students last for an extra 50 minutes, compared to the new 80 minute lab periods for students not in the advanced placement program. And unfortunately for peer counselors, they only have one free until the last quarter.
After talking to several junior students, most of them agreed on the ineffectiveness of the new schedule. Junior Livi Janjigian argues,¨It has been extremely ineffective. As a junior, I experienced the old schedule, and I enjoyed it much more. 80 minutes is way too long to sit in a class and none of my teachers even like it. After a certain amount of time, students do not focus and I still haven’t adjusted and it’s the end of the year.¨ Other juniors continue to point out how this new schedule has hurt classes. It has placed several classes behind where they should be, based off of the time limit with the 50 minute period. However, a few students have adjusted and now appreciate the long period. They expressed their enjoyment for longer periods in their classes. During the so-called “80,” they feel that they typically get more done, feel more accomplished, and bond more with their teachers. On top of that, most of them are allowed a break outside of the classroom — something they look forward to.
The multiple departments in the high school have been affected differently. French teacher Madame Polk, in the language department, has mix feelings about the long block. ¨I believe that the schedule is ineffective for students as they typically can only pay attention in 20 minute increments. However, I believe that it is effective for presentations and longer tests, especially in advanced placement classes as they can act as mock tests.”
For the physical education department, the plans for each class were easily adjustable. High school students typically don’t mind long periods in these classes, as physical activity keeps us busy and health classes aren’t as academically demanding as other classes. As for math, there is great variation for every level and teacher. Some classes teach through the entire 80, but the durations of assessments have not changed much. English and history classes are typically branded together and have not been affected as much. During the long periods, it seems that they are more utilized as work periods or times to show films. Each type of class has been affected differently and so has each student and teacher.
As we look to next year, we must appreciate the ability of teachers and educators to alter their schedules to fit with the new times. Maybe 80 minutes of class isn’t so bad after all.
Graphic: Erin Kim