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The return to the eight-period schedule in the 2022-2023 school year may have some worried, but staff members welcome the change.
Principal Jeff Legan believes the new school year will come with many positives for teachers and students alike. He said, “Routine is going to make people feel more comfortable. They’re going to know what to expect each and every day.”
Legan also thinks the shorter blocks of each class will make teachers able to see each of their students every day with fewer interruptions. He said, “I believe we will be able to do more things like assemblies, so there’s less disruption in this schedule because of more consistency. I think that’s really the big part […], engaging in the content every day.”
A scheduling committee, which included Legan, assistant principal Jarrod Mulheman, a handful of teachers, and a small group of students, worked for months to review various bell schedules in order to optimize learning within the school district. “And then once a schedule is determined by that group, I then forwarded on to Dr. Barnes and his cabinet for review and then sent on to the Board of Education for approval,” Legan said.
While using block scheduling, many teachers and students experienced issues with little in-class time. Legan said, “I think the teachers understand the consistency part, and a big frustration this year [occurred] when we had snow days or the counselors came into the English classes because that is precious time. And for some kids on a green day, they may not see their teachers for five days because of the disruption.”
Multiple teachers, including music teacher Brian Fancher and English teacher Lacy Long-Goldberg, say they’re happy to have a new schedule that allows them to see every student every day. Fancher said, “I think a lot of what we do in music classes is learning and developing skills […], having that repetition every day I think is a huge benefit to each student.”
Long-Goldberg looks forward to maximizing time with her students. She said, “It might affect the amount of homework in terms of maybe there being a little bit of homework each night, but also building time in class to work on that as well.”
The veteran English teacher believes classes that follow the flipped classroom model can be more successful now that all classes will be 50-minutes. She said, “I think that with maybe pre-recording lessons, that maybe the students can do the notes the night before, and then that would give us more time in class to work on the content.”
Even though Fancher knows his choir classes will be affected by less time together per class period, he still embraces the schedule change. He said, “Essentially, everything is just going to have to be a little bit shorter, and move a little bit faster on any given day. But, because now it’s every day, I’ll be able to revisit that material every day instead of every other or even less often.”
For students who prefer a longer period of time to work, Legan encourages those in grades 9-12 to consider a more self-paced schedule in The Option. Legan said, “That’s why we try to use, or why we created, [the] different learning modalities to try to meet the needs of all the students.”
Legan thinks the return to the eight-period bell schedule will be largely positive for everyone in the high school. He said, “All I can say is that I do believe the teachers will be happy with this when we go back. I think that the students will be happy with this when we go back.”