New Schedule Blocks Complaints About Time

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Emily Dixon, Staff Writer

It’s Day One of the new schedule. You actually only have class for 75 minutes, from 10:25-11:40. The rest of your day is open periods and a blended class. You go to class, head to the workout room to get your season sport’s workout time completed, and then hangout with friends in the STEM building. At your leisure, you then find your science teacher for extra help with a lab write up.

The next day is four core classes back to back, and you don’t know how to sit still all day. Luckily the schedule builds in stretch time, and socializing during the day.

During class meetings last Thursday, Mrs. Dougherty, and Mr. Seldis announced a big change that will be coming to ODA next year: the new alternating block schedule. 

After a lot of research and discussion the teachers decided this schedule change would benefit the student brain. In the new schedule, students will  have four seventy-five minute classes a day, and a break in between each.

For many long timers, change can be exciting. Consider the opening of the STEM building last year.

When administrators shared the new schedule, many were pretty surprised. The long class blocks and time to socialize and especially getting out fifteen minutes early was a welcome sight. Whether it’s five minutes or two hours, getting out earlier is always exciting.

This early dismissal was planned because of safety reasons. The schedules will no longer clash with middle school dismissal, causing less possible crashes. Also it will make leaving school much faster.

“We saw three years ago that this summer coming up, the upper school, and middle school would be separate groups, and we don’t need cross over teachers. We thought, ok now we can do a schedule for the upper school mind instead of having the same one for middle and upper school. Then we talked to different people and schools to find the best possible schedule. Mr. Mahler asked us to design the best schedule for the upper school students, so we came up with this new schedule,” said Mr. Seldis, Assistant Head of the Upper School.

“I like the schedule change, unless I have four of my core classes in one day. I like switching off every day instead of having the same schedule each week,” said Junior Tess Siciliano.

“I like that all classes are seventy-five minutes. I feel like you can get more accomplished in the longer period and also adapt the way you teach so that you can have more varied activities. This would benefit all learners–if you can change up the activities because you have more time. Forty-five minutes is too short a time period to teach a full lesson and allow for active student participation. I look forward to the additional time,” said Spanish teacher, Señora Dooley.

For the teachers this extra time is definitely beneficial, but it could affect giving homework, considering students only have each class two to three times a week.

“Since I won’t see people for a minimum of two days, I will give longer reading assignments so we can use class time more efficiently. I think it will end up equalling out because I’ll just double it, like if I had class three days in a row and gave ten pages each night, I would just assign thirty pages through the three days so that it is the same time,” said Mrs. Betz, upper school English teacher.

Another impact of the new schedule will be an improved experience for athletes. In the beginning of the year, during volleyball season, for example, all volleyball players left before long E period, almost every Thursday. It was hard for most students, unless they have free because most of us were missing a core class about five times in the season.

With the new schedule it will really benefit students to not miss the same class while on field trips.

Marine Science students go on field trips about once a month. In the old schedule, they miss two of the same core classes which causes them to miss a lot and have a lot of work to makeup.

In the new schedule, however, each day has the same breaks in between. Students have Community Time every day for forty minutes. This is where we have Ovation, Assembly, Class Meeting, and Advisory. Also every day we have a community work period, this is when we have time to go ask teachers questions on homework, tests, or class work we don’t understand.

“I think that having a work period in between classes is helpful. Usually when I have homework or a test and I don’t understand it, I don’t want to wake up early or go in after school when I’m really tired. Also I don’t always have the same free period as the teacher I need to talk too. I think this will definitely help me to get better grades,” said junior Kolbie Ward.

For most students the work period just seems like an added 25 minutes to socialize.

In response to this concern, Mr. Seldis points out that this period was included to train us for college to utilize our time better considering most of the day will be an open period. Also he doesn’t mind if we use the break to get a snack and drink, because it is how we decide to use our time, whether we want the food or the grades.

Most of the people are really excited about the new change, but not everyone

“Even though I’m a senior, I’m really happy I won’t be here next year for the new schedule. I think the periods are too long. I have a short attention span, and will lose focus easily ,” said senior Lauren Redington.

No matter how you feel about the change, get ready for it. It’s official.