Concerns arise around new 8-period day


Magdalene Yen, Features Editor

Every current student knows that the bell schedule has changed every year for the past five years. I will not tell you the 8-period day will be terrible. We have yet to determine how well it will work. There are many unknowns still surrounding it, and I believe admin makes decisions that are in the best interest of students. I also understand that there was a team of teachers on the bell schedule committee among those trying their best to improve the learning environment and lives of the students on campus.
A significant issue of concern is the reduced instructional minutes. Teachers are losing 55 instructional minutes per week. As they have had to do with past schedule changes, teachers have to consider reordering their curriculum. Teachers are weighing their options on which lessons they are going to have to sacrifice in the interest of losing time.
Fridays next year will contain periods 1-8, with each class being 35 minutes long. My impression is that teachers feel rushed in the 50-minute periods of this year’s Friday schedule. How are we going to get anything done in 35-minute periods next year? Teachers like giving tests on Fridays because all periods can take them on the same day. I take many quizzes and full tests on Fridays, but this may not be an option anymore.

Furthermore, despite admin and teachers not wishing to add more homework and stress to students’ lives, this may become necessary. Eight classes + less time in class = more homework.
Although some teachers have expressed enthusiasm for the new schedule, others have concerns, including teachers who will now teach six periods instead of five. Having to lead classes six times means more energy will be required, along with the possibility of more grading. Other teachers are concerned that the new schedule might require them to teach an additional course. If some teachers have to take on additional preparation, this means more time outside of work hours mastering new content and creating new lessons.
The balance of class sizes is also a concern; periods 3-6 could be bigger classes, and periods 1-2 and 7-8 could be smaller classes because those will tend to be students’ free periods.
The change means the high school no longer aligns with Thurston. This lowers the capability of elective teachers teaching at both campuses, and some could view high school teachers as now having to do more work compared to the middle school teachers.
Heavily pushed benefits of this schedule are increased elective opportunities and the option to spend less time in school to pursue other interests. However, some teachers are worried students might opt to sleep in or leave early rather than take an elective despite this schedule trying to encourage this.
One of the largest flaws I see in this new schedule is the placement of tutorial after 5th and 6th period. As shown in the image, there is a simple fix: Put tutorial after break. Apparently, a main argument for tutorial being at the end of the day is for student-athletes with early release not to miss class time. Are periods 7 and 8 not enough time? Is this not admitting that tutorial is pretty useless?
“I feel most productive in the morning. Because of this, I utilize tutorial best when it is earlier,” shared an anonymous 11th-grade student.
Students can use tutorial time to study for upcoming tests that are occurring that day. They can use it for last-minute finishing touches on assignments or to communicate with teachers prior to attending their class that day.
With this year’s schedule, break begins at 10:59. Students are due in class by 11:14. The proposed schedule has students going to lunch at 11:25 next year. That is an hour and a half earlier than our current 12:54 lunch. Moving tutorial to after break causes lunch to start at 12:05. A heavily pushed benefit of this schedule is to give students free time to pursue their hobbies or work. If upper-level students leave campus for lunch and have a free 5th/6th, they must return 1.5 hours later to sit through a 35-minute block of time, or they will be truant and given detention. This also interferes with students’ work schedules; it conflicts with their independent PE practices; this interferes with their hobbies and extracurricular activities. Many students are upset about this decision.

Instagram account @movetutorial_lbhs started a petition that had 110 signatures at the time of writing this article, including some parent comments:
“As a parent of a rising senior, I support this schedule change as it allows my senior to have the opportunity to pursue his interests after school with a college course/internship without the need to return to school for 30 minutes for tutorial after lunch,” said a mother in the comments.

Despite the school opening many lines of communication about the bell schedule, many members of the community feel uninformed about how the new schedule will work. They feel unheard regarding their concerns surrounding the schedule.
All these issues and concerns should be considered and addressed to soothe the worries of those affected by the new bell schedule.

Read a contrasting opinion here:

An 8-period day will improve our school