Schedule options presented to community

Choices include block, seven-period days


Kaia Myers

Assistant principal Jessica Busse and executive assistant to the superintendent Flower Krutina present the new schedule options for the 2021-22 school year during third lunch Feb. 24. Students who vote on which option they’d prefer on Instagram or the survey will be entered to win gift cards.

Marta Hill, Kaia Myers, and Isabel Kjaer

With new start and end time being implemented in the 2020-21 school year, executive assistant to the superintendent, Flower Krutina said a task force has formed to look into a new schedule for the high school.

“We’ve been meeting for a while now. It’s made up of students, teachers, staff, community members, parents, and we’ve been looking at the schedule and what best fits the needs of students and teachers,” Krutina said. 

The block schedule option has eight classes on Mondays, followed by four alternating and longer classes Tuesday through Friday with time for rotating clubs and academic help, according to Krutina.

“Classes Tuesday and Friday would be 80 minutes long, but then there’s only four classes of homework Tuesday through Friday, which is cool,” Krutina said.

According to assistant principal Jessica Busse, the seven-period schedule, that has been in place at the high school since the 1980s, is not fitted to the time period. 

“We’ve also noticed that the schedules are not working for some kids. And while they’re not complaining about it, and you know look at how many kids are going to PSEO classes and doing education differently. What worked in the 80s might not work in 2020,” Busse said. “The idea of taking an online class for this generation is not scary, where as in the 80s it wasn’t even a possibility.”

According to sophomore Emelia Johnson, the longer class times can lead to difficulties focusing for some students. 

“I like the seven-period schedule better. I experienced the block days in middle school and it is hard for me personally to pay attention in class for that long,” Johnson said. “I have a hard time focusing for 40 minutes anyways, and if it is a class that I don’t like, I am not going to want to pay attention for even longer.”

Busse said the conversation about a schedule change started because the administration saw the extra time in the mornings was not being used as well as it could be.

“We started talking about the 8:20 a.m., 8:40 a.m. start and how students were not utilizing that time. And then we started talking about how students needed assistance, but they weren’t actually using the time that they had,” Busse said. “And so then the conversation started about ‘what do we need in a schedule.’”

According to Krutina, in the block option, students would spend time on Tuesdays through Fridays with teachers or clubs on an alternating schedule.

“It’d be like having Mondays, Tuesdays, you get support in math and science, and Thursday Friday, you get it in social studies and writing,” Krutina said. “And then teachers would collaborate on the subjects that they don’t teach on days they’re not supporting students.”

Busse said the time after the first block period of the block schedule was included to increase inclusivity in club meetings.

“So the idea was that giving students access, access to clubs and activities during the day, rather than outside of the day when students have other stuff going on, and transportation becomes an issue. So I wanted to take the access issues out of the equation,” Busse said.

When presented with the two schedule options, sophomore Greta Betzer said although students may like to move around the school more than the schedule allows, she thinks the longer classes will help students concentrate.

“I think that we should have block days because it gives us more time to focus on four classes a day and then it would leave you with less homework every day,” Betzer said. “I think it would be a good idea because you can just focus in for like an hour and a half on the same subject and you don’t have to go to 50 minutes of each class and not really learn a lot everyday.”

Krutina said Mondays will be used as a source of consistency and rhythm for students, while also including shorter class periods.

“Monday then is an equalizer. Instead of being like, ‘oh my gosh is it an A day or a B day today,’ it’s consistently, Monday, you have all eight,” Krutina said.

According to Busse, the change in schedule would prompt a change in teaching style to avoid any obstacles that may arise. 

“We would have to do some professional development around ‘what does that look like for teachers and for students, and how do we make it so that it is not 80 minutes of sitting,’ because I can’t sit for 80 minutes. So, we would make that adjustment.”

According to Busse, the district is rolling out the start and end time changes next year, but the high school schedule will not change until the 2021-2022 school year because there are a lot of details to work out. 

“We want to go into it really prepared because whatever we change, we don’t want to change temporarily, we want to change for permanent,” Busse said. “Whatever we decide on we want to do it well. And we didn’t feel like we could do it well in a short period of time, so we pushed it out so that we can do a better job at making the change.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

According to Krutina, all students and parents can take a survey to give their feedback about the upcoming change, even juniors and seniors. Students who submit the survey are entered to win gift cards.