LBHS announces 8-period bell schedule for 2023-24 school year

Next year’s bell schedule adds two periods to the school day, moves Tutorial to after lunch, extends the lunch period and shortens Friday class times. A bell schedule committee studied surrounding schools’ schedules, solicited community input and evaluated options for three years before determining next year’s schedule.

Abigail Roedersheimer, News Editor

After four years of schedule changes, LBHS hopes the permanent solution lies within eight periods with 80-minute block classes and 35-minute Friday classes. 

As enrollment dwindles and students seek more options regarding class selections and sports availability, administration has decided to add two more periods to the schedule. 

“The consistent theme around the conversation has been variety, balance and options for our students,” said principal Dr. Jason Allemann. 

In addition to the change in the number of minutes and amount of classes, tutorial will also look different next year. Rather than having an assigned class to go to for each tutorial, students will be able to pick the teacher they visit, or a teacher may decide to require a student who has fallen behind to attend their tutorial for extra instruction or makeup opportunities. 

The decision to build a new schedule arose around flexibility and the chance for students to take more classes than a student has historically been able to do with the 6-period day. 

“An open-enrollment class is taking a class outside what your regular schedule would be,” said Allemann. “It could be an add-on class that maximizes your whole schedule.” 

The new schedule has implications for teachers, as well. 

“We are losing 55 minutes a week. A lot of us use all of our minutes that we have now,” said Honors English 9 teacher Sarah Benson. “We do have to reexamine our lesson plans and our pacing, which is a bit of a challenge, after having to redo that pacing several times over the last few years.”

While Benson does not plan to drop any units, she expects to have to cut agenda items such as independent reading or individual work time, though she hopes that these can be achieved in tutorial. 

Students share similar concerns about a drop in class length. 

I think the 80-minute classes may cause more homework and work during the week,” said rising sophomore Marlee Sinay.

Despite the cut in class time, AP Statistics and Algebra One teacher Lara Greco is confident she can adjust. 

“The new schedule may be challenging because teachers will have less designated contact time with each of their classes,” said Greco. “This means teachers will need to be very strategic with lesson planning and pacing. As this is a bell schedule that has long been used in surrounding districts, however, I am confident we can make it work.” 

Students are not required to fill all eight periods, which opens the opportunity for a later start or an earlier release. 

I was excited to learn that I can request a free first or second period next year,” said incoming 9th grader Cameron Thomas. “Starting school at 10 a.m. sounds amazing.”  

Major changes in the Laguna Beach Unified School District almost always come as a result of patient and deliberate planning.  

“The bell schedule committee has been convening over the past three years to consistently analyze and reflect on enrollment, student scheduling, balance and access to coursework,” said Allemann.

The committee reviewed feedback and opinions gathered both formally (town hall discussions, Student Senate, classroom conversations, surveys and Thought Exchanges), and informally (student/parent conversations, commentary, emails) from over the last few years. After reviewing the varying opinions and perspectives that come out of all of the venues, it was the charge of the LBHS administration to make the ultimate decision. 

“We have done so in the interest of students’ balance, variety in course selection, and flexibility,” said Allemann. “I hope that there is no confusion around this issue as oftentimes people feel like they may have not been heard if their opinion wasn’t adopted in the final schedule.”

Read opinions on the new bell schedule:

An 8-period day will improve our school

Concerns arise around new 8-period day