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New schedule stirs up controversy among students and staff

Students and staff share what they think about the different schedules

Sam Rainville, Staff Reporter
Originally published October 25, 2019

The new schedule, featuring four different bell schedules, was introduced at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. Already, it has received mixed reactions from the school community. 

The change accommodates the addition of Advancing Ballard Time (ABT), which takes place on Tuesday and Friday. Classes on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday have slightly longer class periods, resulting in four different bell schedules.

This change has created a discussion of the new routine, with much of the concern lying in the constantly changing start and end times of classes. The replacement of DAM time has also brought up concerns. 

The schedule was created through the joint effort of Principal Keven Wynkoop, the Instructional Council and the Continuous School Improvement Plan Committee (CSIP). The Instructional Council is made up of the different department heads, while CSIP is a mix of staff members and students. 

In the spring of last year, the conversation began about what to do with the schedule. Through the conversation, Wynkoop presented the idea that would become the new schedule, which was voted on in June. 

One of the main concerns brought up in these discussions was the previous use of DAM time. 

“That group brought the concern that the way we had DAM time allocated last year was not worthwhile for students, and that it was basically being taken advantage of,” Wynkoop said. “We couldn’t give more time to non-class time.”

After nearly seven hours of school, students had less focus by the end of the day, which made structured activities difficult, another problem that Wynkoop wanted to address. 

“What we were able to do is really channel a lot of the things that we do into that Friday community time,” Wynkoop said. “This benefits our community, provides for more community in the school, and yet doesn’t take away from the instructional time that people have in class.”

However, student reactions have been more mixed. Some are concerned with the confusing aspect of the schedule, and are still struggling to find their bearings.

Junior Sydney Smith shared her concerns about the schedule. While she liked the addition of ABT’s scholarship days, the limited access to that extra time was difficult for her.

“Because it’s not everyday it’s kind of inconvenient,” Smith said. “Some days I have so much work and I can’t prepare.”

To Smith, the usefulness of these scholarship days is reliant on the classes you have before. 

“I have AP Chem second period, so I’m really lucky and happy about that,” Smith said. “But for other people it’s an inconvenience.” 

At the same time, some students are having minimal issues with the schedule. Junior Kelsey Hansen found herself having an easy time adjusting.

“I like that there’s the longer time to get stuff done,” Hansen said. “I don’t really mind the different times every day. I just get up to go to my next class when the bell rings.”

The addition of ABT was also a positive for Hansen. 

“The morning is better,” Hansen said. “I haven’t lost all motivation. By the end of the day I normally am just tired.” 

Chemistry teacher Timothy Stedman shared what he saw as the ups and downs of the schedule.

“The class time that we have this year, even on Wednesdays, it’s longer,” Stedman said. “I’m really happy about that.”

While the schedule can provide more teaching time for teachers, the schedule on days with ABT can cut short Stedman’s lessons.

“It’s really challenging for me as an AP Chemistry teacher, because when that time comes up I’m supposed to be doing community time, and I have no other time during the day to break down the lab,” Stedman said. 

One aspect that Stedman considered a positive was that teachers have more flexibility to help students with their own class’ work.

“Two times a week where if I need to, I can flex into that period and help my students get caught up, or myself get caught up, or break down a lab,” Stedman said. 

As the school community adjusts, Wynkoop stands behind the change, remaining hopeful about the changes ABT will bring to the school community.

“I’m really excited about the prospect of students having time that they’re in charge of, for them to determine what is the best use of their time,” Wynkoop said. “Building in that self responsibility to manage that time effectively is a really great skill for students.”

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New schedule stirs up controversy among students and staff