PRO: New schedule offers valuable change to school year
The decision to revert back to the pre-pandemic 50 minute period schedule has already proven to be a practical and beneficial change for the 2021-2022 school year.
The 2020-21 school schedule consisted of four 80 minute periods. The original idea behind this was to minimize student interaction in a single day. Although this schedule helped to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, with most of the study body now fully vaccinated, this precaution is no longer necessary.
For many students, including myself, the longer class periods were a challenge. It was difficult to focus and listen for more than an hour at a time. I often found myself tired and bored by the last 30 minutes of class. It is easier to remain engaged with the subject matter and lesson plans when class periods are shorter. In turn, class time is more efficient and productive.
An important part of school is meeting new people and interacting with your peers. The vaccines have made significant progress in combating the virus, so interacting with more people is less of a public health risk. The current schedule gives students the opportunity to socialize with a greater number of people in a single day. ”
— Gabriella Gerig ’23
Another downside of the COVID-19 schedule was the discontinuity that resulted from class periods meeting every other day. Math and science oriented classes are generally mastered through repetition and practice. The one day gap made it harder to grasp the subject matter. It is challenging to perform well when you do not reinforce what you learn every day. Other subject areas were not immune to this downfall as well.
Spreading out the periods evenly across the week, ensures that a day is not too easy or too hard. Too often in the pandemic schedule, there would be one easy day consisting of free periods and electives. Students would then be hit with all of their rigorous classes concentrated into only a few hours. The current schedule which drops two periods a day solves this issue.
Connections, a group of peers to communicate with that encourages meaningful connections between students and staff members, only met once a week on the half-day last year. It is a safe, friendly environment for many students. With the new schedule, the groups are able to meet twice per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 20 minutes.
Finally, it is important to mention the social aspect of the COVID-19 schedule. An important part of school is meeting new people and interacting with your peers. The vaccines have made significant progress in combating the virus, so interacting with more people is less of a public health risk. The current schedule gives students the opportunity to socialize with a greater number of people in a single day.
The 80-minute periods were a good idea but have now become obsolete. The new schedule with shorter periods has proven to increase continuity and establish a more connected community.
Paper Sports Editor Gabi Gerig ‘23 became a volleyball junkie after her sister introduced her to the sport when she was younger. She plays for the volleyball...
CON: Return to six-period schedule warrants negative response
Students, bleary-eyed from a late night of homework, grip steaming coffee as they run to their class. Confused freshman frantically check their schedules trying to figure out what the day’s schedule is. The bell rings and teachers immediately start the lesson, determined to fit all the content into fifty or less minutes. As Staples switched back from the block schedule established during the 2020-2021 school year, both the student body and administration are feeling the negative effects.
The current schedule is as follows – students are enrolled in eight classes and have six a day, meaning two are dropped. Each class is 50 minutes, aside from one longer 80 minute period, and classes further rotate on a four-day A-D rotation that repeats throughout the year. This is different from the schedule instated for the 2020-21 school year, during which Staples had four 80 minute classes a day: periods 1-4 on A days and 5-8 on B days. This previous schedule was not just easier to follow, but allowed students to learn more and spread out their work evenly.
With the previous schedule, students had two days to complete homework instead of one, allowing them to spread out their rigorous workload. The current schedule adds to the growing stress levels of Staples students and should not be in effect.”
— Abbie Goldstein ’22
First off, 50 minute periods are not nearly enough time for teachers to teach a thorough lesson. In many of my classes, teachers either cannot finish or cram in the content with little time to spare. The 80 minute periods that we had last year gave teachers enough time to teach the lesson with enough time for a collaborative element. Last school year, I was able to talk with my peers and conduct in-class activities. This year, most of my classes have become lecture-based with no time for interaction with others.
Furthermore, the longer periods allowed more to be accomplished in the allotted time, giving students less homework. With the previous schedule, students had two days to complete homework instead of one, allowing them to spread out their rigorous workload. The current schedule adds to the growing stress levels of Staples students and should not be in effect.
Another element of the block schedule that was extremely beneficial and should remain in effect is flex time. Flex time was a 30 minute period of time after school that allowed students to receive assistance from teachers and connect with them. This block was extremely helpful when you had to miss a class, and allowed students to connect and build relationships with teachers. Flex time should be reinstated to the schedule to provide this support system to the students.
The new schedule is impractical and makes students unnecessarily stressed about their schoolwork. There is little time to meet with teachers, double the amount of homework and barely enough class time to grasp the content. It is detrimental to keep it in effect and Staples should revert back to the block schedule.
Paper Arts Editor Abbie Goldstein ’22 is one thing above all else: free spirited. She returns to Inklings for her last year after a summer of creative...